Speed Reads

the verdict

Johnny Depp wins defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial is over, and the jury has sided with Depp — and also Heard. 

After three days of deliberations, a jury in Virginia found that Heard defamed her ex-husband, Depp, when she wrote an op-ed in 2018 about becoming a "public figure representing domestic abuse" and that she acted with actual malice when she did so. The article never mentioned Depp's name. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages. 

But Heard had countersued Depp for defamation after his lawyer described her allegations as a hoax, and the jury sided with her on one count, awarding her $2 million in damages. 

The verdict followed six weeks of testimony in which Depp and Heard both accused one another of domestic abuse during their relationship. Heard testified that Depp physically and sexually abused her, while Depp denied ever hitting her and said she was the one guilty of abuse. The jury would only have had to believe a single one of Heard's abuse allegations for Depp to lose, making the verdict a major victory for the actor as he seeks to restore his reputation in Hollywood. 

Heard was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, but Depp, who has been in the U.K. performing a streak of surprise concerts, wasn't. In a statement, Heard said she was "heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband."