After six weeks of intense libel trial against Heard riding on bitterly contested allegations of domestic abuse, the jurors in Fairfax, Virginia, found both Depp and Heard liable for defamation — but sided more strongly with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star.
Depp’s defamation suit against his celebrity ex-wife went to a trial, starting in Virginia on April 11 with jury selection.
The actor claimed a 2018 domestic violence piece written by Heard in The Washington Post, had implied he was abusive.
Heard didn’t name the actor but Depp’s lawyers said her allegations made it difficult for him to land acting roles.
Giving its verdict, the jurors awarded $15m to Depp — comprising $10 million in compensatory damages and a further $5 million in punitive damages.
Heard, on the other hand, was awarded $2 million in her counter-suit against Depp.
Johnny Depp’s Reaction
Reacting to the ruling, Depp took to his Instagram page to share a 2-page statement, saying the jury finally ‘gave him back his life’ after six years – referring to 2015 when he part ways with the Aquaman star.
He further stated;
Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.
False, very serious and criminal allegation were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It bad
already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and so career.
Depp spoke about his reason for pursing the case, saying;
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 hurdles 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
was 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 that.
Since the beginning of the chaotic trial, Depp has received massive support from fans around the world.
Appreciating these fans, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor said;
I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that
the position will now réturn to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.
I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping
me to share the truth. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun. Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.
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A few dozen onlookers and Depp supporters were posted outside for the verdict, one man sporting a “Jack Sparrow” pirate hat and a woman with a placard reading: “No matter what happens today, Johnny, you are a winner!!! And the whole word knows the TRUTH!!!”
Dozens of witnesses testified during the trial, including bodyguards, Hollywood executives, agents, entertainment industry experts, doctors, friends and relatives.
Depp and Heard each spent days on the witness stand during the televised trial, which was attended by hundreds of fans of the “Pirates” star and accompanied by a #JusticeForJohnnyDepp campaign on social media.
Video and audio recordings of heated, profanity-laced arguments between the couple were played for the jury, which was also shown photographs of injuries allegedly suffered by Heard during their volatile relationship.
Depp testified that it was Heard who was frequently violent and said it has been “brutal” to listen to “outlandish” accusations of domestic abuse made against him.
Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against him in May 2016, citing domestic violence.
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, filed a libel suit in London against the British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” He lost that case in November 2020.
Both sides have claimed damage to their Hollywood careers.