Actor Johnny Depp sits in his vehicle as he departs the Fairfax County Courthouse on May 27, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. Closing arguments in the Depp v. Heard defamation trial, brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard, concluded today and jury deliberations begin. Actress Amber Heard departs the Fairfax County Courthouse on May 27, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. Closing arguments in the Depp v. Heard defamation trial, brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard, concluded today and jury deliberations begin.

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.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Relationship and Court Timeline

  • 2012: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Start Dating

    Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are believed to have started dating that year, after Depp split from his longtime partner, French actor Vanessa Paradis. Depp and Paradis have two children, a daughter named Lily-Rose, 22 and a son named Jack, 20.

    Heard and Depp are believed to have met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary, in which they both starred.

  • March 2014: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Get Engaged

    Johnny Depp confirms that he and Amber Heard are engaged, after a couple of months of speculation. “The fact that I’m wearing a chick’s ring on my finger is probably a dead giveaway,” he said while promoting the film Transcendence.

  • February 2015: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Get Married

    Amber Heard and Johnny Depp marry. According to People magazine, they had two ceremonies: the first at Depp’s home in Los Angeles, and the second at Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.

  • May 2016: Amber Heard Files For Divorce

    A little over a year after being married, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp, citing irreconcilable differences. That same month, a judge grants Heard a restraining order against Depp over allegations of domestic violence on his part.

    In a sworn declaration, Heard alleged that Depp threw a cellphone at her during a fight, which struck her in the eye and the cheek, and that he screamed at her, hit her, violently grabbed her face and pulled her hair. According to The Associated Press, she submits to the court a photo of her bruised face when requesting the restraining order. Heard is seen with “a bruise on her right cheek below the eye” during a court appearance.

    “During the entirety of our relationship, Johnny has been verbally and physically abusive to me,” Heard wrote in the filing. “I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.”

    She added, “I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our house) unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”

    Depp denied the allegations of domestic abuse, with his lawyers alleging in a court document in 2016 that Heard was “attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”

    The LAPD said in May 2016 that police officers who responded to a domestic incident radio call on the 21st of that month found “no evidence of any crime.” Heard’s legal team has since subpoenaed the LAPD in connection to that same call as part of the ongoing defamation court case opposing Heard and Depp.

  • August 2016: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Settle Their Divorce

    After months of heated proceedings, Depp and Heard reached a settlement in their divorce.

    “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the pair said in a joint statement at the time. “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”

    Heard pledged to donate the $7 million from Depp to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (In August 2021, a New York judge partially granted a petition from Depp to determine whether donations had been made).

  • January 2017: The Divorce Is Finalized

    Depp and Heard formally finalized their divorce. “We are all pleased to put this unpleasant chapter in Mr Depp and his family’s lives behind them,” Depp’s attorney Laura Wasser wrote in a statement. “Having his request for entry of the dissolution judgment granted today made it a particularly lucky Friday the 13th.”

    Heard’s lawyer told Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Carl H. Moor, that his client “would be very happy to move on with her life.”

  • June 2018: Johnny Depp Sues Over The Sun Headline

    On June 1, 2018, Depp sued News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes tabloid newspaper The Sun, for alleged libel over an article published in April of that year, with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

    Depp would eventually lose the case.

  • December 2018: Amber Heard Publishes Op-Ed In The Washington Post

    On December 18, 2018, Amber Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

    In it, she wrote in part: “Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college-age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim. Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

    Depp wasn’t mentioned by name in the op-ed. The op-ed would later become the basis of the $50 million defamation lawsuit filed by Depp naming Heard as a defendant.

  • March 2019: Johnny Depp Sues Amber Heard

    Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard, alleging she defamed him in her Washington Post op-ed. “The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” the complaint alleged in part, calling the claim of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false.”

  • July 2020: Johnny Depp’s Lawsuit Against The Sun Goes To Trial

    The trial opened on July 7, 2020 in London. Depp’s lawyers argue he is seeking “vindication,” not money, and Depp himself denied the allegations of domestic abuse. A spokesperson for Heard told Vanity Fair that she “never asked for these proceedings to take place” and “has tried to move on with her life.”

    The trial lasted for three weeks, with explosive allegations emerging as part of the evidence and testimony. The proceedings wrapped up at the end of July.

  • August 2020: Amber Heard Countersues

    Heard filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp in response to his libel lawsuit, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

    In the filing, Heard asked the court to grant her immunity from Depp’s complaint and asks for compensatory damages of “not more than $100 million,” specifying this is “twice the amount Mr. Depp asserted against Ms. Heard.”

  • November 2020: Johnny Depp Loses His Libel Battle Against The Sun

    The court ruled in favor of The Sun in the libel lawsuit. Justice Andrew Nicol said the defendants proved that their allegations against Depp were “substantially true,” The Associated Press reported.

    “I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard,” the judge wrote in a ruling.

    An attorney for Depp called the judgment “so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision.”

  • March 2021: Johnny Depp Is Denied Permission To Appeal Loss In The Sun Case

    Two court of appeal judges find against granting Depp permission to appeal the judge’s decision in his libel suit against The Sun. Per the AP, Justices James Dingemans and Nicholas Underhill ruled that the original hearing was “full and fair” and the judge’s rulings “have not been shown even arguably to be vitiated by any error of approach or mistake of law.”

    Dingemans and Underhill found that “the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard. It is clear from a reading of the judgment as a whole that the judge based his conclusions on each of the incidents on his extremely detailed review of the evidence specific to each incident. In an approach of that kind there was little need or room for the judge to give weight to any general assessment of Ms. Heard’s credibility.”

  • April 11, 2022: Defamation Case Goes To Trial In Virginia

    The trial in Depp’s defamation case against Heard began on April 11, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia, where Heard’s The Washington Post op-ed was published.

    Heard’s witnesses are expected to include James Franco and Elon Musk, who are listed as potential witnesses who may participate by video link.

    Depp suffered a significant setback before the trial began when the judge in the case, Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate, found that Heard could argue that her op-ed deals with a matter of public interest.

    Per the AP, Depp’s legal team had tried to argue that Heard shouldn’t be able to rely on Virginia’s anti-SLAPP legislation. Anti-SLAPP laws (anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) are designed to protect people from being sued when they speak out on matters of public interest.

    Judge Azcarate ruled that Heard could, in fact, invoke Virginia’s anti-SLAPP legislation in her defense and argue to the jury that it should apply to her op-ed.