Actor Johnny Depp has won his defamation lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard. Jurors found that Mr Depp had proven Ms Heard’s 2018 piece for the Washington Post titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” was defamatory.
Mr Depp sued the Aquaman star for 50 million US dollars over the piece. The article does not mention Mr Depp by name, yet his lawyers said it falsely implied he physically and sexually abused Ms Heard while they were together.
Following six weeks of evidence and roughly 13 hours of deliberation, jurors reached a decision in the matter. Their verdict was read out at just before 8.30pm UK time.
The actor was awarded compensatory damages of 10 million dollars (£8 million) and a further 5 million dollars (£4 million) in punitive damages. Ms Heard, who was sitting between members of her legal team at the front of the court room, looked downcast as the ruling was read out by the judge.
The actress had her head bowed and appeared to be listening intently to the verdict.
During closing remarks, both sides urged jurors to think about other victims of domestic abuse. Ms Heard’s legal team highlighted the message that a verdict in Mr Depp’s favour would send to others, while the actor’s representatives said her claims were “an act of profound cruelty to true survivors”.
The actor has consistently denied the “outrageous, outlandish” claims of abuse and said he had “spoken up for what I have been carrying on my back reluctantly for six years” during his own evidence during the trial.