Printed on Wed Jul 06 2022 12:11:55 AM
Johnny Depp Wins Defamation Trial
Actor Johnny Depp won more than $10 million in damages on Wednesday, achieving a near-total victory in a defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard to cap a six-week trial featuring graphic testimony about the stars' soured relationship.
A seven-person jury in Virginia also ruled for Heard on one counterclaim against Depp. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" film star depicted the decision as a vindication, and his former wife said it was "a disappointment."
Jurors awarded Depp $15 million in damages from Heard, which the judge reduced to $10.35 million to comply with state limits on punitive damages. The panel ordered Depp to pay Heard $2 million in damages.
Depp, 58, had sued Heard for $50 million and argued that she defamed him when she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse" in a newspaper opinion piece.
Heard countersued for $100 million, saying Depp smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a "hoax."
Depp denied hitting Heard, 36, or any woman and said she was the one who turned violent in their relationship.
He told jurors the allegations from Heard, best known for her role in "Aquaman," had cost him "everything." A new "Pirates" movie was put on hold and Depp was replaced in the "Fantastic Beasts" film franchise, a "Harry Potter" spinoff.
"The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled," Depp, who watched the verdict from Britain, said in a statement.
"The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun," he added, ending with the Latin phrase "Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes."
Heard, seated in the courtroom between two of her lawyers, looked down as the verdicts were read.
"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words," she said in a statement. "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," she added. "It is a setback."
Depp faced a different outcome in Britain less than two years ago, when he sued the Sun tabloid for calling him a "wife-beater." A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.