Amber Heard attorney denies blackmail claim by pal of Johnny Depp

An attorney for actress Amber Heard is denying claims by standup comic Doug Stanhope that she is blackmailing her estranged husband, film star Johnny Depp.

The “allegations against Ms. Heard are absolutely and unequivocally false,” lawyer Peter Sample said in a letter Monday to TheWrap.com, which on Sunday published a guest column by Stanhope, a friend of Depp’s. Sample said that the claim of blackmail “has no basis in reality and is nothing but the typical celebrity muckraking for profit,” The Wrap said.

The Hollywood trade site said Sample demanded a retraction of the article for what he called a defamatory and “outrageous” claim. The Wrap said it would respond through its legal counsel.

Stanhope, saying he and his girlfriend “have known Johnny Depp for a few years now,” claimed Heard, 30, had been manipulating “Alice Through the Looking Glass” star Depp, 52, “for the entire time we’ve known him.”

Heard and Depp married on Feb. 3, 2015. She filed for divorce May 23, alleging, among other claims, that Depp hit her in the face with his iPhone two days earlier, leaving bruises.

Stanhope said he and his girlfriend were at Depp’s house most of that day “until just before the alleged assault.” Depp, whose mother had died the day before, “opened up in the most vulnerable of ways” and reportedly said “that Amber was now going to leave him, threatening to lie about him publicly in any and every possible duplicitous way if he didn’t agree to her terms. Blackmail is what I would imagine other people might put it, including the manner in which he is now being vilified.”