The jury found that his ex-wife, Heard, did in fact defame him in the 2018 Washington Post op-ed titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
After the jury unanimously agreed that the article Heard wrote was defamatory, they awarded Depp $15 million in damages. But now, onlookers are wondering how Heard will pay the damages after losing the case.
Heard will now have to pay up to $10 million (£8 million) in compensatory damages, while the punitive damages will be reduced from $5 million (£4 million) to $350,000 (£280,000), due to the state cap on awards of this type in Virginia.
However, the Aquaman actor will receive $2 million from Depp from the counter-lawsuit, meaning she will not need to fork out the entire sum that her ex-husband was awarded.
Reports suggest that Heard could be facing bankruptcy, according to experts. However, her current net worth has not been discussed since the beginning of the trial, so it is not yet known whether the payout will cause financial pressure.
In the trial, Heard did claim that she was unable to donate $7 million (£5.5 million) to charity following her divorce from Depp in 2017 due to financial struggle, as the actor had filed the lawsuit against her.
Heard had previously pledged to donate that money from the settlement of their divorce to charities, including the American Civil Liberties Union.
It was also suggested during the trial that Heard’s acting career had dried out due to the trial with her ex-husband, which also contributed to her supposed financial strain.
Following the jury’s decision in Depp’s favour, Heard has announced plans to appeal the verdict in the case.
Heard's spokesperson Alafair Hall revealed the plans to appeal in a statement to The New York Times, although it is not yet clear what grounds Heard will base her appeal on.
If Heard does appeal the verdict, she would still have to post a bond for the full $10.35 million (£8.25 million) payout, which also includes interest.
However, if Heard is unable to pay the huge legal fees, the court could opt to take a sum of her wages.
Furthermore, if Heard were to drop the appeal, there is a risk the court would take a sum of her current and future wages.
The actor could opt to file for bankruptcy, erasing the $8 million (£6.3 million) compensatory damages which she owes.
In order to be granted a retrial of the case, the actor would likely need to demonstrate there were errors in the trial, or that there were issues with the presiding judge's reading of the law.
An appeal could also be based on new evidence or testimony which emerges following the conclusion of the initial trial.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy