Johnny Depp awarded over US$10 million in defamation case victory against ex-wife
Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has won a near-total victory in a defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. After a trial that lasted 6 weeks, with detailed testimony of the toxic nature of the marriage, the 7-person jury ruled in Depp’s favour for the most part, although it ruled in Heard’s favour on one counter-claim.
According to a Reuters report, Depp was awarded damages of US$15 million from Heard, but this was reduced to US$10.35 million, in line with the state of Virginia’s limits on punitive damages. Depp was also ordered to pay US$2 million in damages to Heard. Depp has described the ruling as a vindication, while Heard says it was a “disappointment”.
The trial arose when Depp sued Heard for US$50 million, claiming she defamed him in a newspaper opinion piece in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.
It was not the first time Depp had taken legal action, having sued the British tabloid The Sun around 2 years ago after the paper described him as a “wife beater”. In that case, however, the court found against Depp, ruling that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
In this latest trial, Heard counter-sued her ex-husband for US$100 million, claiming her reputation had been smeared by Depp’s lawyer dismissing her accusations as a “hoax”. During the explosive trial, which attracted global attention, Depp denied ever hitting Heard, or any woman, claiming it was his ex-wife who had become violent during their marriage.
The actor claimed Heard had cost him his career, after a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie was put on hold and he was dropped from the Fantastic Beasts film franchise. Following the ruling in his favour, Depp issued a statement to thank the jury.
“The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun.”
Meanwhile, Heard too issued a statement, in which she described her disappointment at the verdict, describing it as a setback for women.
“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.”
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