Johnny Depp’s multimillion-dollar US lawsuit against Amber Heard has been won. A Virginia jury found that a 2018 article in The Washington Post was defamatory.
The court awarded him $15m, which included $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damage.
In her counter-suit against Depp, Amber Heard received $2m.
Depp stated that he was truly humbled by the verdict of the jury, and said the allegations had had an “seismic effect” on his career and life.
He stated that “From the beginning, the goal was to expose the truth, regardless what the outcome”
“Speaking truth was something I owed my children and all those who have supported me.
“I feel at ease knowing that I have achieved that.”
Heard stated that she was “heartbroken” by the verdict and that it “sets back time to a time when women who spoke out and were publicly shamed could be humiliated.”
She said, “I am sad that I lost this case.” Sadder is the fact that I appear to have lost an American right to freely express myself and my opinions.
Depp had sued Heard to recover $50m (PS38.2m), over a December 2018 first-person article in The Washington Post, in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic violence”.
Depp was not mentioned in the column, but he claimed it was an example “defamation through implication” since parts of the column were referring to abuse allegations she made against him after their split in 2016.
Heard had filed a counterclaim for $100m, or PS76.4m, over statements that she called a “hoax” by her ex-husband’s lawyer. These statements were published in Mail Online stories in 2020.
Ryan Baker, a US litigation lawyer, told Sky News that Depp won the overall election because his lawyers did a “tremendous task” of undermining Heards credibility “time after time”.
He said that he was not surprised that Depp and Heard were convicted by the jury, as there were compelling stories from both sides.
Baker stated that Depp had “exonerated himself” in general, as the case revolved around the Heard article in The Washington Post, which was found defamatory, malicious, and misleading.
He said that it was “hard to imagine,” that jury members weren’t affected in some way by Depp’s massive public support – and the celebrity accolades he has received.
After the verdict was rendered, Depp’s attorneys made a short statement outside Fairfax, Virginia.
They claimed that Heard’s claims were obviously “defamatory” and “not supported by any evidence”. They also said they were so grateful to the jury and their thoughtful deliberations.
They said that Depp was a true honor to have worked with them on the case, and that it was now time to “turn the page and look forward”.
After the Fairfax, Virginia trial, Depp’s legal team requested that the jury “give Mr Depp his life back”. They said the case wasn’t about money, but reputation and “liberating him from the prison where he has been living for six years”.
Ben Rottenborn, Heard’s lawyer, stated that the lawsuit was not about Depp’s reputation but part of an ongoing smear campaign by the actor following Heard’s divorce filings.
He said, “In Mr Depp’s world you don’t leave Mr Depp.” “If you do, he’ll launch a campaign against you of global humiliation.”
Rottenborn stated that it was absurd for Depp to try and “fool” the jury into believing that he had never been abusive towards Heard.
Six weeks of testimony was held at Fairfax County Circuit Court, Virginia. The jury heard from close friends, including supermodel Kate Moss, family members, therapists, and staff who had worked with or spent time with the couple. Depp and Heard both took the stand twice, each giving different accounts to the jury.
In court, shocking details were revealed about their massive rows. Apart from the allegations of physical violence, Depp was also accused of holding his dog out of the car window of a moving vehicle and of painting messages in blood on the wall at a house in Australia . This after famously cutting his finger. He accused Heard, on the other hand, of defecating in their beds and creating bleeding injuries with nail polish.
It was just a matter of who the jury believed.
Depp, the plaintiff or the one who initiated the legal proceedings, was the first to testify. said he was “obsessed” with the truth and claimed he was the victim of domestic abuse in his relationship with Heard. Depp called the allegations against him “heinous” and “disturbing”, claiming that they had “permeated the entertainment industry” and that he hoped the trial would clear his record.
Heard made several accusations of Depp’s sexual and physical abuse, , breaking down in tears while she described some in detail. According to her, her ex-husband was jealous of her co-stars, including Billy Bob Thornton, James Franco and Eddie Redmayne. She also claimed that she feared for her own life during an alleged incident of abuse.
Franco and Elon Musk the tech billionaire who dated Heard following her breakup with Depp were scheduled to testify at the trial. However, time constraints prevented these high-profile celebrities from participating.
Depp’s lawyers stated that Heard was planning for “the performance-of-a lifetime” during the hearing. However, her legal team claimed the case would expose the person behind the fame and “pirate costumes”.
During the case, a couple therapist stated that they engaged in “mutual abusive“, while Two expert psychologists offered differing accounts as to whether Heard had suffered from PTSD due to abuse or if he actually had a personality disorder.
According to a financial expert, Depp lost around $40 million in earnings due to Heard’s claims. Many of his security staff members and guards also confirmed his claims that his ex-wife had been violent towards him at times.
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Heard’s witnesses claimed that they witnessed evidence of physical abuse. A make-up artist said she had to cover up a lip injures, while the actress’s sister said she saw a fight between the two.
After meeting on set of The Rum Diary (2011), Depp and Heard began dating. They were married in Los Angeles in Feb 2015. Heard filed for a restraining or separation order shortly after the split.
The US verdict comes nearly two years after Depp was convicted in the case, a three-week-long case against The Sun newspaper at The Royal Courts Of Justice in London.
After the trial that took place in summer 2020, which saw Heard testify as a witness rather than as defendant, ruled that an article referring the actor to himself as a “wife-beater”.
Depp requested permission from the Court of Appeal for him to contest the ruling in the hope of having its findings overturned. A retrial was ordered. However, the appeal was denied in March 2021.
Depp was seen at several industry events since the UK judgment. He also received a lifetime achievement award from the Spanish film festival and a medal for his contribution to Serbian art. Depp is also actively promoting his art.
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The former Pirates Of The Caribbean actor appears to have lost interest in film roles. His last movie Minamata in which he was Eugene Smith’s war photographer, was released in 2020. He will not appear in a sixth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. He was also dropped from Fantastic Beasts 3 Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts 3. Mads Mikkelsen replaced him as Gellert Grindelwald.
Heard, who had a surrogate baby girl in 2021, was a star in Zack Snyder’s Justice League 2021 and will be appearing in Aquaman 2 2023.