190521 Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp Image Credit: AP

Hollywood star Johnny Depp on Monday lost his libel battle with a British tabloid which labelled him a "wife beater" after a High Court judge ruled that the paper's allegations were "substantially true".

Depp, 57, famed for his role in films such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Edward Scissorhands', had sued News Group Newspapers, publishers of the Sun, and one of its journalists, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which stated he had been violent towards his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, 34.

It also questioned his casting in the 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them' movie franchise.

Over the course of three weeks at London's Old Bailey in July, judge Andrew Nicol heard evidence from both Depp and Heard about their tempestuous marriage, alleged affairs, his hedonistic lifestyle and battle with drink and drugs, and their furious rows. Both accused the other of violent outbursts.

"I accept that the defendants have shown that the words they published were substantially true in the meanings I have held them to bear," Nicol said in his ruling which will could have a major impact on his reputation and future career.

"It follows that this claim is dismissed."