Johnny Depp & Amber Heard Reach Settlement in Defamation Case
Six months ago, a verdict was reached in Johnny Depp’s 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 both Depp and Heard filed appeals in the defamation, they have finally reached a settlement.
On Monday, Heard released a lengthy statement on Instagram. She wrote, “After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia."
“It is important for me to say I never chose this," she added. "I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed."
Amber argued that the “vilification” that she faced on social media is “an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward.”
Heard emphasized, “I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to. I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward. I make this decision having lost faith in the American legal system," she noted, "where my unprotected testimony served as entertainment and social media fodder."
Heard also brought up the U.K. liberal case, which she won. She wrote, “When I stood before a judge in the UK, I was vindicated by a robust, impartial and fair system, where I was protected from having to give the worst moments of my testimony in front of the world’s media… in the US, however, I exhausted almost all of my resources in advance of and during a trial in which I was subject to a courtroom in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded… in the interim I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot re-live.”
“In settling this case," Amber stressed, "I am choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed, and which I know I can effect change."
Amber ended her statement by thanking her legal team. She wrote, “I’d like to thank my outstanding appellate and original trial teams for their relentless hard work. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and I turn m attention to the growing support that I’ve felt and seen publicly in the months since the trail, and the efforts that have been made to show solidarity with my story.”
TMZ reports Heard will pay $1 million to Depp. A source told the outlet that the money will be coming from her insurance company, and not from her bank account.
After Heard announced the settlement, Depp's lawyers told the outlet, "We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process his intent to bring the truth to light.”
They added, "This was never about the money. The jury’s unanimous decision and the judgment in his favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place, and the payment of $1M reinforces her acknowledgment of the legal system’s rigorous pursuit for justice.”