Jury Sides With Johnny Depp in Defamation Case Against Ex-Wife Amber Heard After 3 Days of Deliberations
Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard in Feb. 2019, claiming an op-ed she wrote describing herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse" damaged his career.
Johnny Depp has proven all elements of defamation against his ex-wife Amber Heard and is awarded $15 million in damages, the jury announced Wednesday after deliberating for three days.
Heard won one of her counterclaims against Depp and was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.
Depp sued Heard in Feb. 2019 for $50 million, alleging a 2018 opinion article written by Heard damaged his career and that she had been the one who abused him. Heard wrote in the article that she had become "a public figure representing domestic abuse," without naming Depp.
Heard countersued Depp for $100 million in Aug. 2020, claiming Depp organized an online smear campaign in order to get her fired from acting and modeling jobs.
The televised trial, which began in April, included lurid testimony from dozens of people in the ex-couple's orbit, along with private correspondence, audio recordings and photographs.
Depp and Heard were married from 2015 to 2017. Heard filed for divorce and was granted a restraining order against Depp in 2016, after showing up to court with bruises on her face.
"During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me," she alleged in her complaint. "He has a short fuse."
A divorce settlement was reached and Heard dropped the restraining order, the Washington Post reported. They also released a joint statement: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and periodically volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm."
After closing arguments from both sides on May 27, the jury was instructed to determine whether defamation with actual malice occurred. In order to meet this definition, Heard must have either known what she wrote was false or acted with "reckless disregard for the truth," the Associated Press reported.
Both Depp and Heard released written statements on social media shortly after the verdict was announced.
"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was still not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband," Heard wrote.
"From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that," Depp wrote.
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