After an explosive six-week televised trial, a seven-member jury has ruled in favour of Johnny Depp in a defamation case against Amber Heard. It comes after the jury found a statement made by Heard in a 2018 opinion piece which clearly referenced the actor.
The jury ruled that Depp should receive $10 million USD (about $14.4 million AUD) in compensatory damages and $5 million USD in punitive damages. The judge said state law caps punitive damages at $350,000 USD so in total, Depp is set to receive $10.35 million USD in damages.
However, the court found in Heard’s countersuit that she was also defamed by a lawyer for Depp who publicly claimed that her abuse allegations were a hoax. The jury found that she will receive $2 million USD.
The actor was quick to take to social media on Wednesday morning local time, writing he was “truly humbled” by the verdict. “False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” he posted in a statement on Instagram. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”
Read it in full, here.
Heard also published a statement on social media. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” the actress wrote. “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 continued, “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback.”
Depp and Heard began dating in 2012 before they married in 2015. 12 months later in 2016 Heard filed for divorce alleging abuse by Depp. In a 2020 defamation lawsuit in the UK, Depp attempted to sue British publication The Sun, after it accused him of assault and called him a “wife beater”. Depp lost after the court found the claims to be “substantially true”.