‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor Johnny Depp won a defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp had filed a defamation suit against his ex-wife after she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post citing domestic abuse and being a survivor of abuse by Johnny Depp, saying that she had been ridiculed and judged for it. A court in Fairfax County, Virginia determined that Ms. Heard had defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp and was ordered to pay him a sum of $10.4 million, partly for compensatory damages and also punitive damages. In turn, Amber was awarded $2 million as compensatory damages with $0 as punitive damages. Depp had sued for $50 million while Amber Heard had countersued for $100 million. Depp had lost a similar case in the UK.
Verdict Reached in Johnny Depp’s Defamation Case Against Amber Heard
The court on Wednesday heard that the jury had reached a verdict but the sitting judge sent them back to deliberate as they had not filled the verdict papers conclusively. The court was also looking for a unanimous decision and after 12 hours of deliberations in a few days, the jury came back with a verdict. They unanimously determined that indeed Amber Heard had defamed Johnny Depp via her op-ed and that she had wrongfully accused him of domestic abuse.
On the other hand, the jury also determined that Johnny Depp’s team had also defamed Amber Heard after they claimed in the Daily Mail that she had set up a crime scene after first calling the police and them conducting interviews and determining that she had not been harmed. According to the piece, she then went on to spill a little wine, fake a black eye, and then call the police again. The jury determined that this was not true and that it amounted to defamation against Ms. Heard, thus awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages.
The Spectacle of Johnny Depp’s Defamation Case Against Amber Heard
For the first time in American Courts, two public figures and Hollywood stars were facing off in the courts with the case being broadcast live on TV and all over the world, including on the internet. The Johnny Depp v Amber Head trial was very much a spectacle and drew in a humongous viewership as it unfolded. The case, unavoidably, brought to light Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s marriage and the intricacies of their relationship. What was most astounding, however, were revelations that Amber Heard was actually the abusive spouse in the marriage. She was even heard in audio recordings presented to the court admitting that she had hit Johnny Depp “multiple times”.
Overwhelming Support for Johnny Depp, including on Social Media
Throughout the trial, there has been a flood and overpouring of support for Johnny Depp, mostly from his die-hard fans who attended the trial, with throngs of others awaiting outside the courtroom every day to greet and cheer him as he entered or left the court. On social media, the mood was the same with a huge outpouring of support for Johnny Depp and ridicule for Amber Heard. Most people sided with Depp, arguing that despite some facts revealing themselves on possible drug abuse, he remained truthful in his claims that he never physically or sexually abused Ms. Heard.
Consequential Defamation Against Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp had told the court that Ms. Heard’s op-ed had ruined his life and led him to lose roles in movies. The false allegations had also weighed heavily on him and his family, fearing that his kids were put through unnecessary pain and disappointment after Ms. Heard alleged that their dad had physically and sexually abused her. Depp had also suffered immense damage to his reputation as he had been presented as a cocaine-snorting drunk who was a wreck and would physically and sexually abuse his then-wife Amber Heard.
Most Didn’t Buy Amber Heard’s ‘Act’
During the court case, Amber Heard presented herself as broken, crying, and snorting her way through the trial. However, in the court of public opinion, most people were not buying what they saw as her act. Some even ridiculed her poor performance during the act saying that she could have or should have done better being a huge Hollywood star. From this perspective, her display of emotions during the case came off as inauthentic and unoriginal. She tried to force her emotions and play the damsel in distress and even the victim, but the jury and people at large didn’t buy her act.
Heard’s Cognitive Disorder
In testimonies made to the court, Amber Heard’s psychiatrist cited that she displayed symptoms of a cognitive disorder where she would constantly seek attention and then act out if she didn’t get it. In essence, she would act out and then gaslight her ex-husband Johnny Depp to think he is the perpetrator while seeing herself as the victim. According to Depp, she was very abusive and would then place the blame on him, despite his attempts to calm her down and apologize for any wrong he might have done to her. It was determined that Ms. Heard is an avid attention-seeker and cherished her Hollywood fame and could have possibly been using Depp to gain fame and the fortune that comes with it.
Johnny Depp’s Reaction to Winning His Defamation Case Against Amber Heard
Johnny Depp released a statement after the verdict saying that “the jury has given me my life back”. Depp went on to say that it was a new beginning and that the truth was finally out insisting that the truth would always eventually come out. Depp was relieved and satisfied with the court’s ruling as his name had been cleared and the court determined that he was indeed not abusive to his ex-wife.
Amber Heard’s Reaction to Losing the Defamation Case
Amber Heard on her part said that “I am sad about losing this case”. She also said that she was disappointed that despite the “mountain of evidence” the court had sided with Johnny Depp. She cited Depp’s case against her in the UK saying that it had gone her way due to the immense evidence. She still went on to claim that society sides with the men and that the case set a bad precedent for future abuse victims. She said that the case was a “setback” in abuse cases and the rights of women saying that she had been denied a right she thought she had. Moreover, she went on to say that her freedom of speech had been violated and that the system had failed in giving her her rights as an American citizen.