In a verdict that has put an end to a messy battle over domestic abuse allegations, a jury in Virginia, United States has on Wednesday sided with actor, Johnny Depp in the trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, finding that she had defamed Mr. Depp in a 2018 op-ed.
Depp was awarded $10 million, plus punitive damages of $5 million. The two had been battling it out in court — each actor claiming that they were abused by the other — for more than seven weeks.
According to Rolling Stone, while the actress was present in court, the actor was absent in the courtroom due to previously scheduled work commitments and he missed the verdict made before the trial, but he was watching from the United Kingdom.
- Heard, 36, alleged her ex-husband Johnny Depp physically and sexually abused her, recounting harrowing moments in her testimony in which she claimed the widely-beloved star assaulted her, including once forcibly penetrating her with a liquor bottle.
- But Depp repeatedly denied the claims. In his words “Never did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way nor have I ever struck any woman in my life,”
- The actor told the jury that he brought the lawsuit against the “Aquaman” actress for defamation to “clear my name. My goal is the truth. One day you’re Cinderella and then in zero point six seconds you’re Quasimodo. I didn’t deserve that and neither did my children.”
What they are saying
Following her loss of the case, Heard called the verdict a “setback” for other women, saying: “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
“I’m 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,” she added.
What you should know
- The jury was comprised of three Asian men, two white men, a Black woman, and an Asian woman. The two alternates included a white woman and an Asian man.
- Depp’s side called more than 40 witnesses, while Heard’s team called 22 over 23 days of testimony. The jury deliberated for 13 hours over three days.
- The trial was full with celebrity name drops, as witnesses listed off names like Tesla billionaire Elon Musk, James Franco, writer Hunter S. Thompson, Winona Ryder, Zendaya, Marilyn Manson, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Bettany and Keith Richards.
- Depp and Heard started dating in 2012, got engaged in 2014, and were married the following year. They separated in 2016 and finalized their divorce in 2017, citing irreconcilable differences.