Johnny Depp has won his multimillion-dollar US lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard after a jury ruled her 2018 article in the Washington Post was defamatory.
The actor has been awarded compensatory damages of 10 million dollars (£8 million) and a further 5 million dollars (£4 million) in punitive damages. Also the jury found in favour of Heard who said she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax. Heard will receive $2 million out of the $100million she was seeking in her countersuit against the star.
Depp had sued the Aqua-man star for 50 million US dollars over the piece titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence- and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” The article does not mention Depp by name but his lawyers said it falsely implies he physically and sexually abused Heard while they were together. Heard looked downcast as the verdict was delivered in court while Depp was a no-show.
Following the ruling, the actress said she was “heartbroken” at the verdict. “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 said in a statement. “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 UK.
“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.” But Depp said he “feels at peace” and “truly humbled” as he said the jury gave him “his life back”.
In a statement, he said: “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the life of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me 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. It had already travelled around the world twice within a nanosecond it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. “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 hurdle that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought. “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished it.”
After six weeks of evidence and 13 hours of deliberation later, jurors made their decision in the multi-million dollar blockbuster libel lawsuit. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor denied Heard’s claims of abuse. Lawyers from both sides had asked jurors to think about other victims of domestic abuse in the closing remarks.
His ex-girlfriend Kate Moss, who testified in support of her former lover at the defamation trial, was also seen at the show.