On Friday, November 6, Johnny Depp announced he would no longer be portraying Gellert Grindelwald in the third upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie. The announcement came days after Depp lost his libel case against The Sun tabloid over a 2018 article in which the publication called him a “wife beater.” Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard have been embroiled in a nasty lawsuit that has led to some shocking allegations against both parties, including Depp dangling a dog out of a car window, and Heard defecating next to Depp in bed as he slept. 

The article in question was published on April 27, 2018, with the headline “Gone Potty: How Can J.K. Rowling Be ‘Genuinely Happy’ Casting Wife Beater Johnny Depp in the New Fantastic Beasts Film?” The Sun maintained that they stand with victims of domestic violence and the headline was warranted, although Depp has come forward with abuse allegations against Heard himself. 

In the judge’s conclusion, he wrote, “The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel. Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.” Depp’s lawyers said it is likely Depp will file an appeal, however, Depp was asked to leave the Fantastic Beasts franchise upon the U.K court’s verdict, and the 57-year-old actor obliged. 

johnny depp fantastic beasts

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Depp wrote in a statement on Instagram to his fans, “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to this wish,” he continued, “My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.” 

Depp has another defamation lawsuit coming up against Heard herself for an opinion piece she wrote for the Washington Post in 2018, in which she claimed she felt “society’s wrath” for speaking up about the domestic abuse she was subjected to by Depp. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the trial likely will not begin until May 2021. 


Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for release in the summer of 2022, and the role of Grindelwald will be recast. This is the latest of many shocking revelations regarding Depp and Heard’s relationship, including allegations that Heard had a threesome with Elon Musk and model Cara Delevigne. In a leaked 2015 audio recording, Heard admitted to hitting Depp, and in texts between Depp and a friend of his read out loud by the defendants earlier in the libel trial, Depp threatened to burn his ex-wife, Heard.