Johnny Depp has won a multi-million dollar U.S. lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard after a Virginia jury found a 2018 Washington Post article defamed.
The court awarded him $15 million — including $10 million in compensatory damages and another $5 million in punitive damages — but the judge capped the total amount of punitive damages based on legal limits, totaling $10.35 million.
Amber Heard was awarded $2 million in her countersuit against Depp.
Depp said he was “really humbled” by the jury’s verdict, saying the charges had a “huge impact” on his life and career.
“From the very beginning, the purpose of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” he said.
“To tell the truth is what I owe to my children and to all those who have stood by me.
“Knowing that I’ve finally done that, I feel at peace.”
Heard, who appeared frustrated in court as the verdict was read, said she was “heartbroken” at the conclusion.
She claims it “rewinds time to a time when women who dare to speak out could be publicly shamed and humiliated”.
She added: “I’m sorry I lost this case. But it’s even more sad that I seem to have lost my right as an American to speak freely and publicly.”
Depp, who did not appear in court to hear the jury’s decision, was found in a Newcastle pub after touring with rock legend Jeff Baker this week.
Depp Had sued Hurd for $50m (£38.2m) for a first-person article published in The Washington Post in December 2018, in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” .
hearThe op-ed does not mention Depp by name, but he sees it as an example of “implied libel” as part of the op-ed referred to allegations of abuse against him after her split in 2016.
Heard has filed a $100m (£76.4m) counterclaim over a statement published in a Mail Online story in 2020 calling her allegations a “hoax” created by her ex-husband’s lawyers.
US litigator Ryan Baker told Sky News he was not surprised Depp won overall, as his lawyers have done a “tremendous job” in undermining Hurd’s credibility “time and time again”.
He also said he was not surprised that the jury found Depp and Heard to a certain extent, as both sides have compelling stories.
However, Mr Baker said Depp had generally “defended himself” as the case centred on Hurd’s article in the Washington Post, which was found to be defamatory and malicious.
He added that it’s “hard to imagine” that no jury compared to Heard in a way that wasn’t immune to the overwhelming public support for Depp — and the celebrity accolades the actor holds.
Depp’s attorney issued a brief statement outside the courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia, after the verdict.
They said Hurd’s claims were clearly “defamatory and not supported by any evidence” and that they “greatly appreciate the careful deliberation of the jury”.
They added that they were “really honoured” to work with Depp on the case and that “it is time to turn the page and look to the future”.
At the conclusion of a six-week trial in Fairfax, Virginia, the actor’s legal team asked the jury to “give Mr Depp back to life”, saying the case was not about money but honor, and ” free him from prison”. He has lived for six years.”
In his closing statement, Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, said the lawsuit had nothing to do with Depp’s reputation, but was part of an ongoing defamation campaign by the actor after Heard filed for divorce.
“In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp,” he said. “If you do, he will launch a global campaign of shaming against you.”
Mr Rottenborn said it was “ridiculous” that Depp tried to “fool” the jury into believing he never abused Hurd.
Jury hears friends including supermodel during six weeks of testimony in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia Kate Moss – Past and present family members, medical staff, therapists and staff who worked and spent time with the former couple. Depp and Heard themselves stood twice each, and both spent days giving different accounts of their relationship to the jury.
Shocking insights into their long queues were detailed in court.In addition to the alleged physical violence, the charges against Depp include allegations that he picked up his dog from a moving car window and smeared blood on the walls of a house in Australia After infamously severing his fingersIn turn, he accused Hurd of defecating on their bed and using nail polish to fake bleeding injuries.
It’s a question of who the jury believes.
Depp was the first of the two to testify as the plaintiff or initiating the legal action, told jury he was ‘obsessed with the truth’and claimed he was the victim of domestic abuse in his relationship with Hurd, not the other way around. He called the allegations against him by his ex-wife “heinous and disturbing”, saying they had “infiltrated” the entertainment industry and him Hope the trial will clear his name.
When Heard came to power, she made several allegations of physical and sexual abuse against Depp, Tears welled up as she explained some graphics in detail. She told the court that her ex-husband had been jealous of her co-stars, including Eddie Redmayne, Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco, and that she was concerned during an alleged abuse incident own life safety.
Franco and tech billionaires Elon MuskShe, who dated Heard after her relationship with Depp ended, was supposed to testify during the trial – as did Depp’s friend Paul Bettany – but the high-profile stars were dropped due to time constraints.
in the opening remarksDepp’s lawyers said Hurd was preparing for the “show of a lifetime” at the hearing, while her legal team said the case would expose the “real” people behind “fame” and “pirate outfits” .
In the case, a couples therapist told the court, The two “mother each other”“, although Two expert psychologists give different accounts On whether Hurd suffered from PTSD from the abuse, or if he actually had a personality disorder.
One financial expert estimated that Depp lost about $40 million in income as a result of Hurd’s allegations, and many of his security guards and staff corroborated his claim that his ex-wife sometimes abused him.
Witnesses to Heard, however, said they saw evidence of physical abuse, with a makeup artist saying she had to cover up a lip injury and the actress’ sister saying she witnessed a fight between the former couple.
Depp and Heard started dating after meeting on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They split in May 2016, shortly after Hurd filed for a restraining order.
The verdict in the US case comes nearly two years after Depp’s first defamation trial in the UK, Three-week case against The Sun publisher at the Royal Court of Justice in London.
After the summer 2020 trial — where Hurd testified as a witness rather than a defendant — the judge handed down his verdict a few months later, Found an article ‘basically true’ that called the actor a ‘wife beater’.
Depp asked the appeals court to allow him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of overturning it and ordering a retrial, but the appeal was dismissed in March 2021.
Since the verdict in the UK case, Depp has appeared at a number of industry events and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at a major Spanish film festival – and most recently, the Medal of Honor for his contributions to Serbian art. He is also promoting his work as an artist.
However, the former Pirates of the Caribbean star’s film roles appear to have dried up, with his final film, Minamata, in 2020, in which he plays war photographer Eugene Smith. He won’t be part of the planned sixth Pirates. The Caribbean film, which was also dropped from the Harry Potter-derived Fantastic Beasts 3, was later replaced by Mads Mickelson as Gellert Grindelwald.
Hurd welcomed a young daughter through surrogacy in 2021, starred in Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021, and will appear in Aquaman 2 in 2023.