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01st Jun 2022

Johnny Depp wins defamation case against Amber Heard

Steve Hopkins

The jury has finally delivered its verdict after the case got underway on April 11

Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against his ex-wife, Amber Heard after the jury returned its verdict on Wednesday.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote in 2018 for the Washington Post. While Depp wasn’t named in the piece, he believes it inferred he abused her and subsequently made it difficult to land movie roles, including the sixth film in the franchise, reportedly worth £18m.

Heard countersued for $100m, accusing the actor of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

The trial heard harrowing testimony from Heard who claimed Depp abused her with a bottle and even performed a cavity search for cocaine. Depp’s team accused her of putting on the “performance of her life”.

The case began on April 11 in Fairfax Virginia and concluded on May 28, with the jury given a three-day weekend before resuming deliberations on May 31.


At the conclusion of closing arguments, the jury was asked to retire, deliberate, and reach a verdict on whether or not, on the balance of probability, Heard did defame Depp in the Post article at the centre of the case.

After deliberating for approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes, they concluded that Heard had defamed Depp with the article.

The jury found ‘yes’ in answer to each question asked to them, finding that Heard’s statements about her marriage were “false” and conveyed “a defamatory implication” to people other than Depp.

They also found she acted with “actual malice”.

The jury awarded Depp $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages.

They also ruled that Heard’s defamation claims against Johnny Depp were unproven.

The jury’s verdict had been scheduled to be read out at 20:00 GMT, but this was delayed after they failed to fill in the part of the paperwork in which they suggest compensatory and punitive damages.

They had to then return to their quarters and complete this part of the paperwork.