Johnny Depp testifying during the defamation case he filed against his ex-wife Amber Heard
A jubilant Johnny Depp said Wednesday that a US jury “gave me my life back” by overwhelmingly taking his side in a bitter defamation battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard over mutual allegations of domestic abuse.
The jury, after a six-week trial, found that Depp and Heard had defamed each other, but weighed in far more strongly with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star.
The five-man, two-woman jury, afterliberating over three days, three million deliberatingly found Heard liable for all three counts of deliberation against Depp and awarded him $10 in compensatory damages in punitive damages.
The 36-year-old Heard prevailed on just one of the three counterclaims she made against Depp and the jury awarded her compensatory damages — but a much lower amount of $2 million.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she said in a statement. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was still not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.
“It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
Depp, who has been in England for the past few days, was not in court for the verdict in the high-profile trial that hinged on lurid claims and counterclaims of domestic abuse between the Hollywood celebrities.
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed,” Depp said .
“The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun.”
A Depp fan held a sign reading: “No matter what happens today, Johnny, you are a winner!!! And the whole world knows the TRUTH!!!”
The Texas-born Heard, who had a starring role in “Aquaman,” did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and sought $50 million in damages.
Both needed to prove the statements were defamatory and, to win compensatory or punitive damages, the jury needed to find they were made with actual malice — with knowledge that they were false or with “reckless disregard” for the truth.
Dozens of witnesses testified during the trial, including bodyguards, Hollywood executives, agents, entertainment industry experts, doctors, friends and relatives.
Video and audio recordings of heated, profanity-laced arguments between the couple were played for the jury, which were also shown photographs of injuries allegedly suffered by Heard during their volatile relationship.
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, claimed the tip of a finger was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him. Heard said she did not know how the injury occurred.
Heard said Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive “monster” during alcohol- and drug-fueled binges and resisted her repeated efforts to curb his drinking and drug use.
Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against him in May 2016, citing domestic violence.
Originally published as Depp celebrates defamation verdict, Heard ‘heartbroken’