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Johnny Depp Wins $50 Million Defamation Case Against Amber Heard

Jake Massey

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Johnny Depp Wins $50 Million Defamation Case Against Amber Heard

After just a few days of deliberation, the jury has reached its verdict in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The jury unanimously found in favour of Depp, finding that what Heard wrote in her op-ed piece for The Washington Post was defamatory, and awarded him $15 million in damages.

The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages, finding that in her countersuit, she did not prove all elements of defamation.

Heard was in attendance at the court in Virginia as the verdict was read out, while Depp was said to be watching from the UK, having flown over to perform at concerts with Jeff Beck in Sheffield and London.

Depp, 58, sued ex-wife Heard, 36, for $50 million (£38.2 million) in a defamation lawsuit over domestic abuse claims she made in a 2018 article in The Washington Post, and she issued a counterclaim for $100m (£76.4m).

The article did not mention Depp by name, yet his lawyers argued it falsely implied he physically and sexually abused the Aquaman actor while they were together.

The verdict comes following six weeks of evidence at Virginia's Fairfax County Circuit Court, which included testimony from both Depp and Heard, as well as supermodel Kate Moss.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Credit: Alamy
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Credit: Alamy

In his closing remarks, Benjamin Rottenborn, representing Heard, said that a verdict in Depp's favour would demonstrate to abuse victims that they would 'always need to do more'.

"The facts are absolutely overwhelming, of abuse," he told the jury.

"Mr Depp simply cannot prove to you that he never once abused Amber, and if you don't know, you have to return a verdict for Ms Heard.

"A ruling against Amber here sends the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim you always need to do more.

"No matter what you document you always have to document more, no matter who you tell you always have to tell more people.

"No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and shortcomings in a relationship you need to be perfect in order for people to believe you.

"Don't send that message – that's what (Mr Depp) wants you to do."

Amber Heard departs the Fairfax County Courthouse, in Fairfax, during the civil trial between her and Johnny Depp. Credit: Alamy
Amber Heard departs the Fairfax County Courthouse, in Fairfax, during the civil trial between her and Johnny Depp. Credit: Alamy

Meanwhile, Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez said in her closing remarks that the 'mountain' of evidence that Depp assaulted his former partner was 'simply not there'.

She said: "It is disturbing to think Ms Heard would make up the horrific tales of abuse that she testified to in this courtroom.

"What Ms Heard testified to in this courtroom is a story of far too many women, but the overwhelming evidence and weight of that evidence is that it is not her story.

"It is not Ms Heard's story.

"It was an act of profound cruelty not just to Mr Depp, but to true survivors of domestic abuse for Ms Heard to hold herself out as a public figure representing domestic abuse.

"It was false, it was defamatory and it caused irreparable harm."

Both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp gave testimony in the case. Credit: Alamy
Both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp gave testimony in the case. Credit: Alamy

Depp and Heard began dating after meeting on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary and got married in 2015. Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp the following year and they finalised their divorce in 2017.

Asked about her decision to file for divorce from Depp in May 2016, Heard said in court: "I knew if I didn't I'd likely not literally survive.

"I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me and I really didn't want to leave him, I loved him so much.

"I would have done anything but I couldn't do that one thing, I couldn't stay."

In 2020, Depp lost a libel case brought against The Sun over an article in which he was labelled a 'wife beater'.

He has denied all allegations of abuse.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News, Celebrity, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard, TV and Film

Jake Massey
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