The defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard was settled after a six-week trial. Depp claimed compensation from his ex-wife, Heard, in the Depp v Heard lawsuit, which was heard in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court.
The high-profile case has gone viral on YouTube and Instagram, with thousands of fans checking in each day to watch the live-streamed trial.
The jury eventually awarded Depp a total of $15 million USD in the defamation case, with $10 million USD in compensatory damages and $5 million USD in punitive damages, for a 2018 The Washington Post piece accusing him of domestic abuse.
Depp was also found guilty of slander through his attorney, and Heard was given $2 million by the jury.
About Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
In 2009, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary and began dating a year later.
They tied the knot in 2015. Heard filed for divorce in 2016, alleging that Depp had physically mistreated her while under the influence of narcotics or alcohol during their marriage.
Heard was “attempting to gain a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse,” Depp said, denying the allegations. In 2017, their divorce was finalized.
After an op-ed she penned in the Washington Post in 2018, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation. “I came out against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath,” the op-ed began.
That has to change,” Heard said, claiming to have been a victim of domestic violence. She did not, however, mention Depp. The trial’s verdict will be released as soon as possible.
Count One Against Heard
The online headline of Depp’s op-ed in The Washington Post: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath,” jurors considered.
“This needs to change.” Lawyers for Heard said she didn’t compose the headline. Jurors determined, however, that Heard “created or published” it and that it was defamatory.
Count Two Against Heard
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic violence, and I felt the full power of our culture’s hatred for women who speak up,” the third paragraph of the op-ed read.
Given that Heard publicly accused Depp of domestic abuse in 2016, Depp’s attorneys contended it plainly referred to him.
Heard’s lawyers argued that a mound of evidence revealed Heard had been mistreated multiple times, and that only one instance of verified abuse would render the line non-defamatory.
They also contended that the remark was objectively true because it focused on Heard’s experience speaking out rather than Depp. It certainly referred to Depp, according to Depp’s counsel.
And, as with the other two counts, the jury determined that Heard defamed Depp with “actual malice” – that is, there was clear and persuasive evidence that Heard either knew it was untrue or behaved with reckless disregard for the truth.
Third Count Against Heard
“I had the uncommon vantage position of observing, in real-time, how institutions shield men accused of abuse,” Heard wrote in a second section of the op-ed.
It certainly referred to Depp, according to Depp’s counsel. And, as with the other two counts, the jury determined that Heard defamed Depp with “actual malice” – that is, there was clear and persuasive evidence that Heard either knew it was untrue or behaved with reckless disregard for the truth.
Count One Against Depp
Heard filed three counts of defamation against Depp, alleging that his former attorney Adam Waldman had repeatedly defamed her by calling Heard’s abuse allegations a fake. Heard claimed that the remarks had harmed her career.
“Amber Heard and her allies in the media utilize bogus sexual-violence allegations as both a sword and a shield depending on their needs,” Waldman said in a statement published on The Daily Mail’s website on April 8, 2020.
They’ve chosen some of her sexual-violence fabrication ‘facts’ to use as the sword, inflicting them on the general public as well as Mr. Depp.” The jury decided that Heard’s lawyers had failed to prove all of the elements of slander.
Count Two Against Depp
Heard won her single case against Waldman, who made a statement to The Daily Mail. Following a 2016 fight in the couple’s Hollywood penthouse, which forced Heard to contact the cops, he accused Heard and her pals of faking abuse charges.
“Quite simply, this was an ambush, a scam,” the statement adds. They tried to frame Mr. Depp by phoning the cops, but the initial attempt failed.
Officers arrived at the penthouses, conducted a thorough check and interview, and then left after observing no damage to the face or property.
So Amber and her buddies spilled a little wine and roughed up the place, straightened out their stories with the help of a lawyer and PR, and then dialed 911 again.”
Depp Has a Third Count Against Him
“We have reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard’s abuse hoax against Johnny Depp,” a statement from the same article said in the final count against Waldman.
Jurors found that Heard’s lawyers had failed to show that the statement was defamatory.
The jury in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard decided that the former should earn more than $10 million and the latter, $2 million. A look at the different counts that jurors considered.
When drafting her op-ed, the jury decided that Heard behaved with genuine malice. In his defamation claim, a jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
Judge Penney Azcarate of the Fairfax County Circuit Court lowered the punitive damages granted to Depp by the jury to $350,000, the state’s statutory limitation or legal limit, bringing his total damages to $10.4 million.