Depp sued Heard, his ex-wife, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp was not named in the article, he claims it cost him lucrative roles. Heard countersued her ex-husband for defamation over statements Depp’s attorney made about her abuse claims.
Weighing the claims, a jury found that both of the exes defamed each other.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million dollars in punitive damages. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and no money for punitive damages.
Depp sought $50 million in damages and Heard sought $100 million. Punitive damages in the state of Virginia are capped at $350,000, so the judge reduced the punitive damages award to that amount.
Heard kept her eyes down as the verdict was read. Depp was not present in court, but released a statement that said, in part, “the jury gave me my life back.”
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steady in their support of me,” he said. “I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Heard said in a statement she is “heartbroken” over the verdict.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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,” Heard said.
Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of their film “The Rum Diary” and were married from 2015-2016 before divorcing.
Actress Ellen Barkin and a number of former Depp associates testified on Heard’s behalf.
Heard had notably fewer vocal supporters than Depp in the entertainment business and in and around the courthouse.