Johnny Depp & Amber Heard React to Defamation Verdict
On Wednesday, Johnny Depp won his defamation case against ex Amber Heard.
The jury found in favor of Depp, agreeing that it was defamation when Heard called him an abuser — though not by name — in a 2018 op-ed piece about domestic abuse survivors. He was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The judge immediately reduced the $5 million figure to $350,000, in line with a Virginia statutory cap.
Amber also had a partial win in her countersuit, as the jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages.
Though Depp was not present in the courtroom, he released a statement after the verdict was read.
He said, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me, were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.”
“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,” Depp went on. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.
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Showing his appreciation to the jury, he said, “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. 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.”
Depp noted that he felt “at peace” after being able to speak his truth.
He added, “I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun. Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.”
Heard told "Extra," “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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 went on, “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."
“I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the U.K.,” Heard argued. “I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly."
The verdict comes after weeks of testimony as the exes have battled it out in court, each accusing the other of abuse.