Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against his former wife Amber Heard after a jury found that a statement that Ms Heard made about domestic abuse in a 2018 opinion piece clearly referred to the actor.
- Jury members award Johnny Depp $US10.35 million in damages
- The jury also finds Amber Heard was defamed by a lawyer for Mr Depp, awarding her $US2 million in damages
- Ms Heard says she is “heartbroken” and Mr Depp said he was “truly humbled”
The seven-member jury found in favour of Mr Depp after a six-week trial in which confronting testimony about the couple’s short but explosive marriage was given.
Mr Depp had accused Ms Heard of several acts of violence during the trial as she also claimed of him.
The jury also found in favour of Ms Heard, who said she was defamed by Mr Depp’s lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.
Jury members found Mr Depp should be awarded $US10.35 million ($A14.4 million) in damages, while Ms Heard should receive $US2 million.
Mr Depp said the jury’s decision gave him his life back and that he was “truly humbled”.
“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 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.
“My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.
“The goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome.”
Following the jury’s decision, Ms Heard took to Instagram to express her disappointment that she had lost “[the] right I thought I had as an American to speak freely and openly”.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Ms Heard posted.
“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.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback.”
Televised trial comes to an end
The verdicts bring an end to a televised trial that Mr Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, although it turned into a spectacle of a vicious marriage.
Fans — overwhelmingly on Mr Depp’s side — lined up overnight to grab a seat in the courtroom.
Spectators who could not get in lined up on the street to cheer Mr Depp and jeer Ms Heard whenever either appeared outside.
In the case, Mr Depp had to prove not only that he never assaulted Ms Heard, but that Ms Heard’s article — which focused primarily on public policy related to domestic violence — defamed him.
He also had to prove that Ms Heard wrote the article with actual malice.
And, to claim damages, he had to prove that her article caused the damage to his reputation as opposed to any number of articles before and after Ms Heard’s piece that detailed the allegations against him.
More to come.