The Truth About Paul Bettany And Johnny Depp's Friendship

A Hollywood friendship little-known to most fans is that of "WandaVision" star Paul Bettany and film icon Johnny Depp. The two's bromance was brought into the spotlight only in February 2020, during a court hearing for Depp's libel action lawsuit against the publisher of The Sun, The Guardian reported. (Depp had sued when the British publication claimed he had physically assaulted his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard, in 2018.) During the hearing, text message exchanges between Depp and Bettany were read aloud, and let's just say the majority of them were ... disturbing. 

The most noteworthy was an alleged November 2013 repartee between the buddies that joshed around about Depp burning and subsequently defiling Heard's burnt corpse, according to Page Six. During his 2022 defamation trial against Heard, Depp clarified that they were referencing a Monty Python sketch, per Just Jared, calling it "irreverent and abstract humor."

Bettany has persistently defended Depp throughout Heard's accusations of domestic violence, tweeting back in 2016 — when the first round of allegations surfaced from Heard — that he's known his pal "for years and through several relationships," adding, "[Depp is] the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man that I've ever known." So, how did this clearly fiercely close and loyal bond spark its first flame?

Inside Paul Bettany and Johnny Depp's bromantic beginnings

Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany's friendship may have been the center of (rather ugly) scrutiny for their reported expletive-ridden text exchanges regarding Amber Heard, but it started, to hear Bettany tell it, almost (b)romantically. The pair met on the set of Depp's 2010 romantic drama, "The Tourist." Bettany told the Toronto Sun in 2014, "I looked at [Depp] and he looked at me, and we haven't stopped laughing since." His depiction of their meet-cute sounds an awful lot like the beginnings of a rom-com, as Bettany recalled to the outlet, "Johnny and I met across a crowded room, and I just had a feeling we would be lifelong friends."

When the Toronto Sun asked if Bettany's superstar pal had used his considerable clout to get his bestie hired, Bettany was impishly dodgy, saying that while Depp would deny the nepotism involved, he himself wasn't quite so sure. "I'm sure he would tell you that's ... not true, because he's a total gentleman and he would never allow me to know the inner workings," Bettany said, before half-jokingly adding, "[Depp] would totally lie to me and tell me they just really wanted me."

With Bettany sticking by Depp's side over the course of the latter's four-year-plus battle with Heard, he just may have been right about their friendship being "lifelong."

Johnny Depp claimed that his ex 'despised' Paul Bettany

The friendly spark between Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany might not have gone over well with Amber Heard. When being questioned during his defamation suit against his ex, Depp made it clear that Heard did not like his pal, per People. The actor explained, "Ms. Heard despised Mr. Bettany, mainly because we had become such close friends, and for her he was a threat and would take me away from her, with regard to if Paul Bettany were getting the attention from me, that was a show-stopper." Depp added, "It would cause all kinds of unpleasantries."

He went on to detail a particularly "rude" encounter that involved the son of Bettany's wife, Jennifer Connelly. According to Depp's account, Heard "demeaned" him to tears. This messy moment greatly upset the actor as he recalled telling Heard at the time, per People, that her "behavior was unacceptable."

This isn't the first sign of Depp becoming close with Bettany's family. During an interview with Empire Magazine, the "WandaVision" actor revealed a "sweet" connection between his daughter Agnes and Depp. When recalling a scene from "Mortdecai" when he had to carry Depp up an escalator, Bettany explained that his friend added in a little shout out. "He says 'uppy uppy' in it, which is something that my daughter says to him when they're together." This may be an endearing memory, but the drama in the courtroom has certainly made things complicated. 

Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany have taken recreational drugs together

As for more private details to come about through the defamation trial concerning Johnny Depp's friendship with Paul Bettany, recreational drug use was a topic of interest. When asked by Amber Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn if Bettany was a "good friend" he had "done drugs with," Depp confirmed that the statements were true, per People.

Depp's drug and alcohol use has been a focal point in the trial, but where does Bettany's experience land in this? In an interview with Total Film Magazine (via Daily Mail), he shared that his own battles with drugs and alcohol began when he was 16 and coping with a tragedy. Bettany's younger brother died due to an unfortunate accident, leading the "Wimbledon" star to drink excessively and use cocaine. During Depp's libel trial in 2020, Depp shared that he and Bettany partook in alcohol, cocaine, Xanax, and Adderall together in the past. He said, per Metro UK, "If [Bettany] was feeling anxious or he was feeling unpleasant, I would give him what he asked for." Previously, in 2012, Bettany said he kicked the cocaine habit because of paranoia. "I stopped because it was threatening my ability to act: the one thing that gave me self-worth."

Being dragged into the spotlight with his private text messages on display was "embarrassing," as Bettany shared with The Times. He put the whole ordeal simply: "We live in a world without context." The scope of the trial has certainly affected individuals beyond Depp and Heard.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).