Justice for Johnny Depp

Depp, 58, sued Heard, 36, for $50 million, accusing her of libelling him with a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The three-time Oscar nominee claimed her article ruined his career and led to a series of cancelled film projects, including a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean instalment.

Heard hit back with her own $100 million counterclaim after the star’s former lawyer Adam Waldman called her allegations a hoax. Both accused one another of ruining their respective careers.

The jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages.

Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit. But the jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages, finding that Waldman defamed her when he claimed that she and her friends staged property damage after an alleged fight.

After the jury ruled in his favour, Depp issued a statement to his Instagram page: “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 … And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”

He added, “Speaking the truth was something that I owed 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.”

Ahead of the jury’s decision, a spokesperson for Heard issued a statement to the Toronto Sun, taking a swipe at Depp for his absence from the courtroom. “Your presence shows where your priorities are. Johnny Depp plays guitar in the U.K. while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”

Heard called the ruling heartbreaking in a message to the Sun.

“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,” she wrote.

“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 U.K.

“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.”

“We are grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation,” Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez said after the verdict was read.

Following the closing arguments on Friday, the seven-person jury weighed the evidence after the U.S. Memorial Day weekend.

Written and published by Lauren Burger