Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Defamation Trial Verdict Revealed

After three days of deliberations, a Virginia jury has reached a verdict in Johnny Depp's $50 million libel lawsuit against Amber Heard, who accused Depp of being abusive during their relationship. They also reached a verdict on Heard's $100 million counter-suit, which accused Depp of defaming her. The jury found Depp was defamed by Heard with her 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

The jury found Depp's attorney Adam Waldman did defame Heard when he told the Daily Mail the actress set up Depp in a hoax in May 2016. Heard was awarded $2 million in damages for that claim. However, the jury ruled that Depp did not defame Heard in two other claims. The judge also adjusted the punitive damages to $350,000 in accordance with Virginia's cap.

"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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," Amber Heard said in a statement immediately following the verdict," Heard said in a statement released moments after the verdict was read. "I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. 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."

"Johnny's attorneys 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 continued. "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."

The case centered on a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which Heard wrote about being a survivor of domestic violence. The Aquaman star did not name Depp, but the actor claimed Heard's allegations hurt his career. Depp did not attend Wednesday's hearing "due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial," his representatives told ABC News. He plans to be watching from the U.K.

"Your presence shows where your priorities are," Heard's team said in response. "Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour."  

The verdict came after a six-week trial that spawned countless sensational headlines as Heard and Depp's testimony gave details of their short marriage. The Pirates of the Caribbean actor insisted he never struck Heard or any woman, and accused her of being abusive towards him. In her testimony, Heard accused Depp of physically and sexually assaulting her multiple times during their relationship.

Depp claimed Heard's Washington Post op-ed, in which she said she was a "public figure representing domestic abuse," was libel and it led to him losing career opportunities. Heard accused Depp of defaming her by calling her allegations a hoax. She also claimed Depp hurt her career. Jurors had to agree on whether or not the statements from the actors were made with "actual malice." This means the actors knew the claims they made were false.

The trial took place in Fairfax, Virginia, where the Washington Post's website servers are located. However, Depp did not stay in the U.S. After testifying a second-time last week, he traveled to the U.K. to perform onstage with guitarist Jeff Beck. Depp and Beck performed Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" during a show over the weekend.

Depp and Heard met while making The Rum Diary and began dating in 2012. They married in February 2015 and Heard filed for divorce on May 23, 2016. She also filed for a temporary restraining order against Depp, accusing him of being abusive during their relationship. The two sides reached a divorce settlement in August 2016 and finalized the divorce in January 2017. Heard published the Washington Post op-ed in December 2018 and Depp filed his lawsuit against her in February 2019. Heard filed her counter-lawsuit in February 2020. The trial finally began in April and included testimony from stars Kate Moss and Ellen Barkin, who both had relationships with Depp in the 1990s.