The jury has reached a verdict in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation case after 14 hours of deliberation in Virginia today, June 1. They ruled mostly in Depp’s favor; his legal team was successful in proving that Heard maliciously defamed him. Depp was awarded $15 million total — $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.
Heard said of the verdict, “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 believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. 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.”
Depp sued Heard for defamation for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp was not named in the article, he claims that it cost him a number of lucrative acting roles. Heard countersued for $100 million, over statements Depp’s attorney made about her abuse claims. Heard and Depp met in 2009 and were married from 2015 to 2016.
The defamation trial has been underway since April and jurors have heard over 100 hours of testimony altogether. They’ve heard from dozens of witnesses, including live testimony from Depp and Heard. Per CNN, Depp was not in court for the verdict due to “previously scheduled work commitments” in the United Kingdom.