Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against a British tabloid that described him as a "wife beater."
The U.K.'s High Court on Monday ruled in favor of News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun, after Depp sued over an article about allegations of domestic abuse leveled against him by his ex-wife Amber Heard, CNN reports. Judge Andrew Nicol concluded the defendants showed that what they published was "substantially true," The New York Times reports.
Depp sued the publisher, as well as executive editor Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article in The Sun calling him a "wife beater" and saying that there was "overwhelming evidence" in support of Heard's abuse allegations, the Times notes. Depp has denied Heard's allegations.
Heard testified during the trial that she was afraid Depp "was going to kill me, either intentionally or just by losing control and going too far." She also said that Depp assaulted her and "explicitly threatened to kill me many times." Depp in a witness statement said that Heard's "sick claims are totally untrue," and he testified that Heard hit him.
The Sun celebrated the judge's decision on Monday as a "stunning victory for press freedom," also saying that "domestic abuse victims must never be silenced" and adding, "we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court," per The Associated Press.
In addition to the libel lawsuit against The Sun, Depp has also filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard herself, and Heard's lawyer on Monday told the Times that "we are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms. Heard's right to free speech."