A Virginia jury sided with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star on Wednesday, finding that his ex-wife had defamed him with her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post.
The “Sweeney Todd” actor was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitory damages.
The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages after finding that one of Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman’s three statements to The Daily Mail was defamatory.
The “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” actor was not present at the Fairfax County, Va., courthouse for the verdict. A source told People that the actor couldn’t be there “due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial,” but would be watching from the UK.
Following the verdict, Depp released a statement celebrating his legal victory in court.
It read, per NBC News, “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. False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back.”
He continued, “I am truly humbled. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought. From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to 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.”
“I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world,” Depp went on. “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. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media. I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun. Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.”
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Heard was in court for the verdict and looked down as the jury’s determinations were read.
Following the verdict, she told Access Hollywood in a statement, “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.”
Her statement continued, “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 had sued Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Her article did not mention Depp by name, but he believed it was clear she was referring to him, since she requested a temporary domestic violence restraining order shortly after the two began their divorce proceedings in 2016.
On the stand, Heard claimed that Depp had abused her physically, verbally, emotionally and psychologically.
Depp had long denied Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse and testified in court that he had “never in my life committed sexual battery [or] physical abuse.”
Heard countersued Depp for defamation over three statements his former attorney Adam Waldman made to The Daily Mail, characterizing her allegations of domestic abuse as a “hoax.”
Their trial lasted for multiple weeks, and the jury began deliberations last Friday after each legal team made their closing arguments.
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