Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard has finally come to an end, with the jury’s final verdict, declaring the actor the winner of the trial.
A US jury Wednesday found both Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard liable for defamation — but sided more strongly with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star following an intense trial riding on bitterly contested allegations of domestic abuse.
The jury found that Depp was defamed by Heard in the title of his Washington Post op-ed, which read, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
The jury also found that Depp was again defamed in his second claim against Amber Heard in the title of her Washington Post op-ed, which read: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
By the third claim, the jury found that Heard defamed Johnny Depp in her Washington Post op-ed when she wrote: “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
On the other hand, the jury ruled that Adam Waldman did defame Heard when he told the Daily Mail she set up Depp in a hoax when the police came to their apartment in May 2016. It awarded Heard $2 million in damages for this claim.
However, Depp did not defame Amber Heard when his lawyer spoke of a “Ms. Heard abuse hoax against Johnny Depp,” the jury ruled. This means Depp was only found to be defamatory in one of her three claims.
According to the jury’s decision Heard will have to pay a total of $15 million to Depp ($10 million in damages and $5 million in punitive damages), although in the end it will only be $10.35 million, while Depp will also have to pay his ex-wife the amount of $2 million.
Subtracting Heard’s award from Depp’s total, the Pirates of the Caribbean star leaves the case with $8.35 million.
Reacting to the verdict, Heard called it a “setback” for women.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” she said in a statement.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback… It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,” she said.
A few dozen onlookers and Depp supporters were posted outside for the verdict, one man sporting a “Jack Sparrow” pirate hat and a woman with a placard reading: “No matter what happens today, Johnny, you are a winner!!! And the whole word knows the TRUTH!!!”
Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against him in May 2016, citing domestic violence.
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, filed a libel suit in London against the British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” He lost that case in November 2020. Both parties have claimed damage to their Hollywood careers.