Amber Heard is heartbroken after a jury awarded her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, more than $10 million in his defamation lawsuit against her.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Heard said in the statement posted to Instagram. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.”
The verdict vindicated Depp’s stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their brief marriage. But the jury also found Heard was defamed by a lawyer for Depp when he called her abuse allegations a hoax. The jury awarded her $2 million in damages.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women,” Heard’s statement continued to read. “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It set back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
“I believe Johnny’s attorney succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the U.K,” Heard’s statement went on to say. “I am sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American- to speak freely and openly.”
Heard’s statement referenced her victory in the United Kingdom lawsuit that Depp had filed against a British tabloid after he was described as a “wife beater.” The judge in that case ruled in the newspaper’s favor after finding that Heard was telling the truth in her descriptions of abuse.
Depp said he is “humbled” by the verdict and claimed the jury gave him his life back. In a statement posted to Instagram, he called the allegations against him “very serious” and explained how it had a “seismic impact” on his life and career.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” Depp’s statement read. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
In the Virginia case, Depp had to prove not only that he never assaulted Heard, but that Heard’s article — which focused primarily on public policy related to domestic violence — defamed him. He also had to prove that Heard wrote the article with actual malice. And to claim damages, he had to prove that her article caused the damage to his reputation as opposed to any number of articles before and after Heard’s piece that detailed the allegations against him.
Depp, in his final testimony to the jury, said the trial gave him a chance to clear his name in a way that he the U.K trial never allowed.
“No matter what happens, I did get here and I did tell the truth and I have spoken up for what I’ve been carrying on my back, reluctantly, for six years,” Depp wrote.
Heard, on the other hand, said the trial has been an ordeal inflicted by an orchestrated smear campaign led by Depp.
“Johnny promised me — promised me — that he’d ruin my life, that he’d ruin my career. He’d take my life from me,” Heard said in her final testimony.
The case captivated millions through its gavel-to-gavel television coverage and impassioned followers on social media who dissected everything from the actors’ mannerisms to the possible symbolism of what they were wearing. Both performers emerge from the trial with reputations in tatters with unclear prospects for their careers.
Depp, a three-time best actor Oscar nominee, had until recent years been a bankable star. His turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film helped turn it into a global franchise, but he’s lost that role. (Heard and Depp’s teams each blame the other.) He was also replaced as the title character in the third “Fantastic Beasts” spin-off film, “The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
Despite testimony at the trial that he could be violent, abusive and out of control, Depp received a standing ovation Tuesday night in London after performing for about 40 minutes with Jeff Beck at the Royal Albert Hall. He has previously toured with Joe Perry and Alice Cooper as the group Hollywood Vampires.
Heard’s acting career has been more modest, and her only two upcoming roles are in a small film and the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel due out next year. Heard claimed her role in the sequel was reduced due to the bad publicity surrounding the case.
Depp’s lawyers fought to keep the case in Virginia, in part because state law provided some legal advantages compared with California, where the two reside. A judge ruled that Virginia was an acceptable forum for the case because The Washington Post’s printing presses and online servers are in the county.