Johnny Depp Wins Defamation Lawsuit Against Ex-Wife Amber Heard. Here's How They Reacted

Jurors awarded Johnny Depp with USD15 million (RM65.8 million) in damages, while Amber Heard was granted USD2 million (RM8.7 million).

Cover image via AP via South China Morning Post

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After about six weeks of the heated, televised court battle between former Hollywood couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, the jury has ruled in favour of Depp

The seven-member jury on Wednesday, 1 June, found that the Aquaman actress did indeed defame Depp in an opinion-editorial essay published in the Washington Post, where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse, reported NBC News.

The article does not mention Depp by name, but the timing of the article's publication after their divorce created an impression towards the public that Depp was her abuser.

In the op-ed, Heard wrote, "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."

Johnny denied all allegations of abuse. He claimed that the story caused him personal and financial damage to his reputation by costing him roles in franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts.

The jury's verdict on Wednesday clears his name and supports his stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their year of marriage.

Depp sued Heard for USD50 million (RM219.6 million) and jurors awarded him a total of USD15 million (RM65.8 million) in damages.

The judge, however, reduced it to USD10.4 million (RM45.6 million) to be in line with the state's statutory cap or legal limit.

Amber Heard.

Image via ABC11

Johnny Depp in the witness stand during the trial.

Image via AP via Free Malaysia Today

At the same time, jurors also awarded Heard USD2 million (RM8.7 million)

Amber, for her part, had countersued Depp for USD100 million (RM439.3 million) after his lawyer claimed that her allegations in the Daily Mail were "a hoax".

The actress won one of three claims and was awarded USD2 million as jurors found Depp liable for his lawyer's statement.

In a statement posted on Twitter and Instagram, Heard said, "The disappointment I feel today is beyond words." 

She believes the verdict will be a "setback for other women" and that this has made her lose her right as an American to "speak freely and openly".

Meanwhile, in a statement on Instagram, Depp said "the jury gave me my life back"

"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," the Pirates of the Caribbean star wrote.

He added that from the very beginning, the goal of bringing the case was for Depp to "reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome", which he says he was able to do over the last six weeks in Virginia, where the trial took place and where the op-ed was published.

The statement ends with, "Truth never perishes."

It's important to note that this is a civil case and that the former husband and wife are not being tried on criminal charges

No matter the verdict, neither will go to prison.

However, the jury's decision to favour Depp means it found that Heard could not substantiate her allegations against the actor, and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published her 2018 essay.

The panel came to its decision after approximately 13 hours over the course of three days.

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