Depp exits 'Fantastic Beasts' after libel loss

Actor Johnny Depp says he’s resigning from the "Fantastic Beasts" movie franchise --

-- just days after he lost a libel case in Britain against a tabloid that labeled him a "wife beater."

57-year-old Depp announced the news on his Instagram saying that Warner Bros. movie studio had asked him to leave his role as villain Gellert Grindelwald.

Depp had sued News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, and one of its journalists, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which stated he had been violent towards his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.

On Monday, a High Court judge in London ruled that the allegations were, quote, "substantially true."

34-year-old Heard claimed Depp had often threatened to kill her - detailing 14 occasions of extreme violence when she said the actor choked, punched, slapped, head-butted, throttled, and kicked her.

Depp had told the court he was never violent towards his ex-wife, saying her claims were a hoax, and that he had lost the tip of a finger after she threw a vodka bottle at him.

Depp is best known as the swaggering Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

He has often played offbeat characters and has an army of fans using social media hashtags like #JusticeForJohnnyDepp to rally against Monday’s verdict.

But Hollywood observers had warned that the court ruling may be the final straw in the actor’s career.

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