FAIRFAX – A jubilant Johnny Depp said on Wednesday that an American jury “gave me my life back” by overwhelmingly siding with him in a bitter libel battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard over mutual allegations of domestic abuse.
After a six-week trial, the jury found that Depp and Heard defamed each other but were far more involved with the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
Depp, 58, who lost a libel case against The Sun tabloid in London in 2020 for calling him a ‘wife beater’, hailed the split verdict in the case as a victory, while Heard said she was “heartbroken”. . .”
The jury of five men and two women, after deliberating for three days, unanimously convicted Heard of the three counts of defamation against Depp, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in damages – punitive interests.
Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000, bringing the total award to $10.35 million.
Heard, 36, prevailed on just one of his three counterclaims against Depp, and the jury awarded him damages — albeit a much smaller $2 million.
A somber, eyes downcast, Heard listened impassively as the verdict was read out in Fairfax County Circuit Court near the US capitol.
“The disappointment I feel today is indescribable,” she said in a statement.
“I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence is still insufficient to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and influence of my ex-husband.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this decision means for other women,” she said.
“It’s a setback. It takes the clock back to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated.
“It rejects the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.”
FANS RALLY BEHIND DEPP
Depp, who has traveled to England in recent days, was not in court for the verdict of the highly publicized trial, which hinges on grim allegations and counterclaims of domestic abuse between Hollywood celebrities.
But he welcomed the verdict in a statement posted on Instagram which quickly garnered millions of likes.
“Six years ago, my life, the lives of my children, the lives of the people closest to me, as well as the lives of the people who supported me and believed in me for many years, changed forever,” Depp said.
“The jury gave me my life back,” he said. “From the beginning, the goal of bringing this case forward was to find out the truth, whatever the outcome.
“The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun.”
A few dozen spectators and Dork supporters waited in the sweltering heat outside the courthouse for the verdict, including a man wearing a Captain Jack Sparrow pirate hat.
A Depp fan held a sign that read, “No matter what happens today Johnny, you’re a winner!!! And the whole world knows the TRUTH!!!”
Depp filed a lawsuit against Heard over an article she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018, in which she described herself as a “public figure who advocates domestic violence.”
Texas-born Heard, who starred in Aquaman, did not name Depp in the play, but he sued her for suggesting he was a domestic abuser, seeking $50 million from damages and interests.
Heard sued her for $100 million and said she was defamed by testimony from Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, who told the Daily Mail that her abuse allegations were a “hoax “.
Both had to prove that the statements were defamatory, and in order to obtain compensatory or punitive damages, the jury had to determine that they were made with actual malice – knowing they were false, or with “contempt reckless” for the truth.