A jury sided Wednesday with Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, awarding the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor more than $10 million and vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage.
But in a split decision, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police. The jury awarded her $2 million.
The verdicts bring an end to a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle that offered a window into a vicious marriage.
Heard, who was stoic in the courtroom as the verdict was read, said she was heartbroken.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
Depp, who was not in court Wednesday, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
“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,” he said in a statement posted to Instagram.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
The jury found in Depp’s favor on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the 2018 piece.
Throughout the proceedings, fans who were overwhelmingly on Depp’s side lined up overnight for coveted courtroom seats. Spectators who couldn’t get in gathered on the street to cheer Depp and jeer Heard whenever they appeared outside.
A crowd of about 200 people cheered when Depp’s lawyers came out after the verdict. “Johnny for president!” one man yelled repeatedly.
Source: AP News