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Johnny Depp wins defamation case against Amber Heard; jury awards him $15 million in damages

The verdict has been announced at the end of nearly seven-week long trial that comprised a seven-member jury.

  • Swaroop Kodur

Last Updated: 09.10 PM, Jun 01, 2022

Johnny Depp wins defamation case against Amber Heard; jury awards him $15 million in damages
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

The much-awaited jury verdict of the Johnny Depp defamation case against Amber Heard has finally been announced. A Virginia jury has ruled the case in favor of Johnny Depp after having decided that Heard made defamatory claims against him. The jury awarded Depp $15 million as damages with Amber Heard getting $2 million for her countersuit. 

In 2019, The Black Mask actor sued Amber Heard citing defamation due to the latter's op-ed piece in 2017 for The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse" (without mentioning Johnny Depp). Amber Heard later countersued him in 2020 claiming that her image was tarnished when Depp's lawyers claimed her accusations were a "hoax". 

The two actors first met on the sets of Rum Diary (a film adaptation of a book authored by the late Hunter S. Thomson, Johnny Depp's close friend) in 2009 and began dating about two years later. They would get married in 2015 but the relationship would soon turn sour and cause them to get divorced in 2017. In the light of the accusations of domestic violence made against him, Disney shelved the sixth film of The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and he was later replaced by another actor in the 'Fantastic Beasts' movies.

Johnny Depp files the defamation suit for $50 million charges claiming that contrary to Amber Heard's statements, it was he who suffered abuse during the marriage. The trial began on April 11, 2022, and was concluded on June 1, 2022, with the seven-member jury ruling the verdict towards Depp and awarding him $15 million. The same panel also sided with Heard on a few aspects and awarded her $2 million for her $100 million countersuit. 

The nearly seven-week long trial has ended as one of the most-followed and publicly scrutinized in recent history. The entire trial was live-streamed, leading to many graphic and explicit details of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard relationship being divulged in public and social media played a huge part in the proceedings. Journalist Amelia Tait of The Guardian referred to the case as "Trial by TikTok'.