The Depp v. Heard Jury Finds Amber Heard Guilty of Defamation


After six weeks of testimony and three days of deliberation, the seven-person jury in the Depp v. Heard defamation case delivered its verdict today. The jury made a unanimous decision to find both parties liable for defamation, although appeared to side more closely with Depp, awarding him $15 million in damages, while awarding Heard $2 million in damages. While Amber Heard was present at the courthouse in Fairfax County, Virginia, to hear the ruling, Johnny Depp was watching the proceedings from the United Kingdom, where he recently traveled for “work commitments.”

The trial largely hinged on an op-ed that Heard wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” While Heard did not mention Depp by name, his legal team argued that the implication was strong enough that it negatively affected Depp’s ability to land movie roles, and in 2020 filed a defamation suit seeking $50 million in damages. The following year, Heard countersued for $100 million.

Depp and Heard first met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary, beginning a tumultuous relationship that saw them marry in 2015 before Heard filed for divorce in May of 2016 and was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp. In a joint statement later that year, the pair acknowledged their relationship had been “volatile” and announced they had settled their divorce.

In 2018, after the British newspaper The Sun ran an article calling Depp a “wife-beater” following allegations made by Heard at the time of filing for the restraining order, Depp sued both the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, and The Sun’s parent company, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News Group Newspapers. A highly publicized three-week trial took place in London in 2020, in which the court ultimately ruled in The Sun’s favor. A further appeal by Depp was unsuccessful, and he stepped down from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise soon after at the request of the film’s production company, Warner Bros.

The controversial decision to livestream the most recent trial, which began in Virginia in April, led to it becoming both a media circus and a social media phenomenon, with many finding footage from the proceedings all but inescapable across a number of platforms, including Twitter and TikTok. Most notable of all have been the army of Depp fans who have flooded the pages of both those testifying on behalf of Heard and individual social media users speaking negatively about Depp with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp. Meanwhile, Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez became an overnight internet celebrity for her intense lines of questioning during Heard’s cross-examination.



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