“Truly humbled” Johnny Depp finally won his defamation battle with ex-wife Amber Heard and was awarded $15m in a dramatic week-long court fight. A seven-member jury found Heard did defame Depp in a televised civil suit.
Hollywood star Depp, who won on all three claims, was awarded $10 million in damages, plus additional ‘punitive’ damages of $5 million.
Heard won one of three claims in the countersuit and was awarded $2 million from Depp’s team.
Depp, who was a no-show at the court’s conclusion, said in a statement, “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 and 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.”
In a statement of her own, Heard said: “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.
“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’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.”
Avoiding a total loss, Heard won in her countersuit on the one claim that related to statements made by a Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman.
The two had been fighting it out in court — each claiming that they were abused by the other — for over seven weeks. Depp’s near sweep suggests that the jury doubted Heard’s claims that she had been physically and sexually abused.
The verdict will undoubtedly help Depp, who hasn’t worked in a major project in years, to return to his once mega stardom. He’ll undoubtedly land huge roles now.
Depp didn’t show for the verdict because of his UK commitments with rocker Jeff Beck.
A source close to Heard blasted Depp’s absence, saying, “Your presence shows where your priorities are. Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia (US). Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”
In his lawsuit, Depp testified that he never hit Heard or sexually abused her with “a bottle”, and that she, instead, was the perpetrator of abuse in the relationship during and after the 2015 filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Depp’s lawyers slammed her testimony, saying that the actress had actually injured Depp after she “threw a vodka bottle at him that hit his hand and exploded, severing the end of one of his fingers”.
Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury, “Ms. Heard had never made that accusation against Mr. Depp; it was never part of her allegations of abuse. So, what changed? When she realised the seriousness of what she alleged, she panicked and alleged sexual assault. In Mr. Depp’s 58 years, not a single woman has ever accused him of violence.”
Depp was presented with evidence such as texts that painted a picture of a movie star who abused drugs and alcohol and was bent on revenge.
He said in a set of texts, “She’s begging for total global humiliation. She’s gonna get it. … I have no mercy”.
Heard had testified about instances when she claimed Depp hit her and “head-butted me square in the nose”.
Heard also admitted to striking Depp multiple times in what she said was self-defence. Former girlfriend Kate Moss, who also took the stand in the trial, testified that she was never once assaulted by Depp.
Lawyer Kimberly Lau, who says the verdict doesn’t mean that the public is done with Depp vs Heard, added, “[Heard] may consider trying to appeal again. So, this could go on for years”.