This article was last updated on June 1, 2022
The jury awards Johnny Depp $15 million in damages in his defamation trial against Amber Heard.
Heard had a modest triumph when a jury found in her favour and awarded her $2 million in her defamation countersuit.
The jury in the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial has made a decision after six weeks of harrowing testimony and nearly 13 hours of deliberation in Fairfax County, Virginia.
On Wednesday, a jury unanimously found in Depp’s favour, ruling that Heard defamed the Pirates of the Caribbean actor when she penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2018 on her experiences as a domestic abuse survivor. Depp was granted compensatory damages of $10 million and punitive damages of $5 million. Heard had a modest triumph when a jury found in her favour and awarded her $2 million in her defamation countersuit.
“The disappointment I feel tonight is beyond words,” Heard said following the decision in a statement. “I’m devastated that the pile of evidence was insufficient to overcome my ex-enormous husband’s power, influence, and sway.”
Depp was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read. “Mr. Depp will not be physically present for today’s 3 p.m. verdict due to already booked business obligations established before to the trial and will be watching from the United Kingdom,” a source close to the actor stated ahead of the judgement.
Heard was in court and was obviously distressed when the decision was read out. Her team had issued a statement in response to Depp’s absence, stating, “Your attendance demonstrates your priorities. While Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia, Johnny Depp plays guitar in the United Kingdom. Depp is going on tour with his snickering and lack of seriousness.”
It all started when Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defaming him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Despite the fact that Heard does not mention Depp in the poem, his attorneys claim that connections to him are obvious and have harmed his career and reputation. Heard subsequently launched a countersuit for $100 million, alleging that Depp and his legal team defamed her by labelling her claims a fake.
The ex-couple met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011 and married in 2015. In 2016, Heard filed for divorce from Depp and obtained a domestic violence restraining order against him, alleging him of assaulting her physically and verbally during “violent and explosive” outbursts. Depp has disputed the charges, claiming that Heard is the one who has abused him throughout the relationship.
“On the stand, the only thing I’m interested in is the truth,” Depp stated. “Falsehoods get you nowhere, but lies grow on top of lies.” Among other things, the actor accused Heard of assaulting him, slicing the tip of his finger, and placing human excrement on his side of the bed. He claimed that he had “never hit” Heard, and that he had “never struck any lady in my life.” Depp said Heard’s claims lost him film jobs, including Pirates of the Caribbean 6.
Depp told the court that he has lost “nothing less than everything,” and that he has already “lost” regardless of the outcome of the trial. “When the allegations were made against me [and] turned into media fodder, telling people that I was a drunken, cocaine-fueled menace who beat women suddenly in my 50s… no matter the outcome of this trial, the second the allegations were made against me [and] turned into media fodder… I lost then,” he said last month.
Heard’s legal team, on the other hand, has presented a different image. Depp allegedly punched her, pulled her hair, and sexually assaulted her with a wine bottle, according to her. She testified that Depp was addicted to cocaine, MDMA, and vodka, and that he sought to dissuade her from performing because she was paranoid about having affairs with co-stars.
Heard also accused Depp of leading a “smear campaign” against her after she accused him of sexual misconduct, saying that she, too, lost work prospects as a result of Depp’s alleged press attacks against her, including a now-“pared down” part in Aquaman 2.
Heard agreed to slapping Depp on the stand, but said she did it in self-defense. “I had to protect myself as best I could,” she explained, “but that was after years of not defending myself.” After that, an emotional Heard testified on the trial’s long-term consequences: Heard described the information as “embarrassing, sensitive details that I never wanted to be known, never wanted to be public ever, and to have them utilised every single day to brand me a liar.” “Every day that I have to face those accusations, I have to relive this.” She went on to say, “This was not anything I want. I’m not looking forward to being here.”
The Virginia verdict comes after Depp’s libel action against The Sun was dismissed in 2020. He filed a lawsuit against the British publication for using the term “wife-beater” in a report about Heard’s claims. The report was “basically factual,” according to the court, and “the large bulk of Mr. Depp’s claimed attacks on Ms. Heard have been proven to the civil standard.” Depp attempted but failed to reverse the decision. Heard tried to dismiss the defamation action in Virginia based on the U.K. decision, but Depp was eventually given the authority to prosecute the case in the United States.
Amber Heard’s defamation testimony, according to Johnny Depp, was “unimaginably harsh, vicious, and utterly untrue.”
The most shocking revelations from Amber Heard’s final day of deposition in the Johnny Depp defamation case.