Paul Bettany is best known for playing characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having appeared in everything from 2008's Iron Man to the Emmy-nominated series WandaVision — but his family-friendly image has been shattered due to his friendship with Johnny Depp, who's in the midst of a trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Bettany, 50, and the Edward Scissorhands actor, 58, have starred in The Tourist, Transcendence, and Mortdecai together, and since they're close, the former's name was brought up in court, where Heard and Depp have both accused the other of abuse. They've each denied it, though the Aquaman actress insists he wouldn't remember since he abused drugs and alcohol.
That's why Heard's lawyer Ben Rottenborn brought up old texts between Depp and Bettany when he cross-examined the Oscar nominee on Wednesday, April 21.
To start, Rottenborn asked Depp if the Avengers: Infinity War star was a "good friend you've done drugs with," to which he replied, "Yes ...That's a strange question. Paul Bettany is a good friend, yes."
One of the texts that Depp sent to Bettany read, "All night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday... Ugly, mate … No food for days … Powders … Half a bottle of Whiskey, a thousand red bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on plane..."
On another occasion in 2013, the men exchanged messages about killing Heard.
"Let's drown her before we burn her!!! I will f**k her her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she is dead," Depp wrote to Bettany, which he replied, "My thoughts entirely! Lets be CERTAIN before we pronounce her a witch." Depp apologized for his words, stating, "in the heat of the pain I was feeling, I went to dark places."
Some of the aforementioned texts were previously made public, and when asked about them, Bettany said it was a "really difficult subject to talk about," and he believed that doing so would "pour fuel on the fire."
"Can you imagine what it would be like, honestly, to have a bunch of lawyers go through every one of your emails and texts for 10 years?" he continued. "All I can tell you is that it was an unpleasant feeling."
The dad-of-two has defended Depp, insisting, "He's the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man that I've ever know."
Aside from being dragged into the Alice in Wonderland actor's scandal, the English star hasn't spurred many negative headlines. He grew up in London, where he was raised by his mom and his dad, Thane Bettany, a performer who happens to be a godfather to Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
Despite his family's royal ties, things weren't always easy — when Bettany was 16, his 8-year-old brother died in an accident, prompting him to leave home, drop out of school and become a street performer, playing his guitar while busking for money.
By 19, he enrolled in the Drama Centre London and did Shakespeare production until getting his Hollywood break in 2001's A Knight's Tale. In 2003, he married A Beautiful Mind costar Jennifer Connelly, and they have two kids together.