Johnny Depp has revealed he’s been “asked to resign” from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movies – after losing his libel trial against The Sun.
The actor sued the paper’s publisher News Group Newspapers over a 2018 article which labelled him a “wife beater” – based on allegations he abused his ex Amber Heard.
Months after the high-profile trial took place over three weeks in July, a judge ruled against Johnny earlier this week.
On Monday, Mr Justice Nichol told the court: “The claimant 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.”
Johnny has since claimed Warner Bros. have asked him to step down from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
In a statement posted on Instagram today, the actor thanked his loyal fans for their support as he broke the news.
Johnny wrote: “In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement. Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.”
“I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”
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“Secondly, 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 that request.”
Johnny added: “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.”
“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.”
Warner Bros. have also confirmed Johnny’s departure, and said his role will be recast before the third film debuts in 2022.
They said: “Johnny Depp will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date.”
“‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”