Johnny Depp has won his multimillion dollar US lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard after a Virginia jury ruled a 2018 article published in The Washington Post was defamatory.
The jury in the Johnny Depp Amber Heard defamation trial has ruled in favor of Johnny Depp, finding that a Washington Post editorial which she wrote defamed her former husband.
The verdict was returned by jurors after deliberating for around 12 hours, after the testimony and courtroom arguments came to a close last week.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million dollars in punitive damages. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and no money for punitive damages.
Heard kept her eyes down as the verdict was read. Depp was not present in court, but released a statement that said, in part, “the jury gave me my life back.”
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high-profile trial involving actors Johnny Depp, 58, and his ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, began April 12 in Fairfax, Va. The trial revolves around a defamation lawsuit Depp filed against Heard in 2019 about an op-ed she wrote about domestic ab use in 2018.
Following the trial in the summer of 2020 – which saw Heard giving evidence as a witness, rather than as the defendant – the judge handed down his ruling a few months later, finding that an article referring to the actor as a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.
Depp asked the Court of Appeal to grant permission for him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of having its findings overturned and a retrial ordered, but the appeal was denied in March 2021.
Since the judgment in the UK case, Depp has been seen at a few industry events and picked up a lifetime achievement award from a major film festival in Spain – and more recently a medal of honour for his contributions to art in Serbia. He is also promoting his work as an artist.
Depp’s legal team had sued Heard for an amount “no less than $50 million” after claiming that she defamed him by implying that he had ab used her during their two-year marriage. Depp says the article irreparably dama-ged his career.
In turn Heard countersued for $100 million claiming that Depp had carried out a “smear campaign” against her. Her team described the court case as a continuation of the “ab-use and harassment” that she had referred to years earlier.
In final arguments, attorneys for Heard told the panel ruling against her would mean they were telling abuse victims: “If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. If you didn’t seek medical attention, you weren’t inj-ured.”
The lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn said Heard deserved to win the case if jurors believed she “was ab–used by Mr Depp even one time and we’re not just talking about physical abuse, psychological … se–xual abuse”.
Lawyers for Depp sought to convince jurors Heard lied about abuse, citing records in which the actor admits to hitting Depp and calling him “a baby”.
Recordings of Depp admitting to hitting Heard were not introduced as evidence at the trial because “it didn’t happen”, Depp attorney Camille Vasquez said.