Greg Ellis played Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in three of the five Pirates of the Caribbean movies opposite Johnny Depp. During their time filming the two actors became friends, with Ellis having repeatedly defended Depp during his recent legal issues and supporting his return as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 6. Aside from the film franchise, both have had difficult experiences in the US divorce courts and now Ellis has written a new book called The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law, which Depp has written an introduction for.
Johnny Depp’s dedication begins the book, which is published on June 29, and reads: “The Respondent is both a chilling reminder and essential therapy for anyone navigating the recrimination and trauma that is modern American divorce.
“It is also both diagnosis and prescription, mediating on the depths of the crisis and the way out.
“Greg Ellis sets the record straight and shatters the myths of divorce court. This is Greg’s story.
“It’s your story. And it’s our story. If you’re trapped in the dungeon that is the family court system, The Respondent should be your constant companion.”
Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Ellis said of the Jack Sparrow star’s contribution to his work: “Well I’ve said for a while now that Johnny Depp is The Respondent; the name given to someone who is called upon to give a response.
“The term is used in legal contexts in psychological conditioning. The silver bullet playbook of high-conflict divorce, the smoking gun of our corrupt legal system has become the go-to strategy for divorce lawyers and raging anti-male feminists, that guarantees a win before you even go into court.”
The actor is a staunch defender of Depp in his recent defamation case, in which the Jack Sparrow star was found by a UK civil judge to have committed domestic abuse against his former wife Amber Heard.
Ellis added: “He was kind enough to write an introduction for the book and Alec Baldwin, [the forward].”
Ellis said how The Respondent is part memoir, meditation and manifesto, arguing that the default in child custody during US divorce proceedings should be 50/50.
The book comes from a deeply personal and painful place for the actor, who shares his story within its pages including how he hasn’t seen his sons for a number of years.
The 53-year-old said: “For me, the one big thing I’m trying to change through my launching the book and my charity CPU (Children & Parents United) is to highlight that the only branch of [the US] legal system where there is no presumption of innocence is Family Law.
“And one would think in a civilised society that that would be the first branch of our legal system that would have a presumption of innocence and due process. Murderers, rapists, paedophiles all get more legal rights than decent law-abiding parents.”
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Ellis continued: “So what I’m doing is calling on politicians, policy-makers, and influencers to come together to reform the one branch of our legal system that has no due process, no presumption of innocence; where parents are found guilty until proven more guilty.
“And having looked into this, and which I talk about in my book, this nearly $60 billion a year divorce machine is incentivised to keep the presumption of guilt at the expense of families.
“And particularly given the recent bias against men and fathers, I think the question we need to be asking is how can we celebrate Father’s Day when we don’t have any left.
“There is a bias in our cultural conversations right now; it’s the narrative that’s being driven by this radical strain of feminism. Not true equality, factual feminism – which I support – but unfortunately there’s this radical strain of it that perpetrates victimhood and false allegations far too often at the expandability and devaluation of men and fathers.”
Ellis added: “And it really, really affects families in Family Law. I think particularly in America, where I live, we’re in the grips of an epidemic that rages in plain sight yet remains invisible to so many.
“The shocking reality is that 4000 children a day are being ripped from their parents in American courtrooms. 1 in 3 children don’t live with their biological father in the home and 40 per cent of those children haven’t seen their fathers in more than a year. And when you think about the fact that the US is the world leader in single-parent families, there’s a correlation here.
“Too many children are growing up in single-parent families without their parents unnecessarily because of a system that is incentivised to money over morality.”
The Respondent: Exposing the Cartel of Family Law (with introduction by Johnny Depp and forward by Alec Baldwin) is published on June 29, 2021.