Johnny Depp has won in the defamation trial against Amber Heard after the verdict from the jury came in on Wednesday, June 1. The 58-year-old actor had sued his ex-wife, 36, for $50 million dollars, following an op-ed that she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, saying that the piece cost him lucrative movie deals and damaged his reputation. The jury found that statements made in the op-ed were indeed defamatory against Johnny. Amber had countersued him for $100 million, also claiming defamation.
Johnny was awarded $5 million in punitive damages, as well as $10 million in compensatory damages. The judge capped his punitive damages at $350,000. Amber was awarded $2 million after the court ruled that a statement made by Adam Waldman was defamatory.
Before the verdict was read, Judge Penney Azcarate warned those watching in the court that she wouldn’t tolerate any outbursts. After the jury first arrived, the judge sent them back into a brief deliberation to fill out the damages page of the jury form.
Ahead of the verdict being read, Johnny had flown to the UK and made appearances at rock legend Jeff Beck’s concerts over the weekend, appearing at three gigs in the UK, with the most recent gig being The Yardbirds guitarist’s show at Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, May 31. His ex-girlfriend Kate Moss, who had testified via video in the trial, even attended the most recent show. Johnny watched the verdict from the UK, while Amber was in court. Amber’s spokesperson called out Johnny for not being in court, in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Your presence shows where your priorities are. [He] plays guitar in the UK while [she] waits for a verdict in Virginia,” they said.
During closing arguments, each side recounted much of the evidence that had been laid out throughout the trial, detailing the alleged abuse from both of the opponents. Each had also argued that their clients’ reputations were damaged as a result of the publicity that the allegations had caused.
Johnny’s lawyers made the case that it was actually Johnny, not Amber who was the victim of abuse. “In fact, there is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp, and there is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom, but it is not Ms. Heard,” his attorney Camille Vasquez said in a passionate address to the jury. “The evidence presented at this trial has shown that Ms. Heard is in fact the abuser, and Mr. Depp the abused.” She proceeded to recount the many pieces of evidence presented, saying that Amber was the perpetrator of many of the physical fights that the two had.
Camille then had her colleague Ben Chew give more arguments for Johnny. Ben focused on how Amber’s op-ed affected Johnny’s career. He spoke about how the trial was an attempt to set the record straight on Johnny’s reputation. When he finished his statement and sat down next to Johnny, the actor gave him a big hug.
When Amber’s legal team began their closing statements, Ben Rottenborn began by making his case that the op-ed in question wasn’t explicitly about Johnny. “This isn’t a hit piece on Johnny Depp, and you can end here,” Ben said. He also argued that Johnny had abused the Aquaman actress, and it should be part of the deciding factor in the trial. “If Amber was abused by Mr. Depp, even one time, then she wins,” he said.
During the closing rebuttal, Camille tried to discredit Amber’s testimony and echoed comments that the legal team had made after she first took the stand. The lawyer called Amber’s claims the “performance of her life.”
After five weeks, the trial has come to an end. Johnny and Amber’s legal battle has captured public attention in a number of different ways. The pair were parodied in a Saturday Night Live cold-open over one of the alleged incidents where Johnny alleged that he believed that Amber had defecated in his bed as a prank. SNL weren’t the only ones to make fun of the trial. Chris Rock gave his point-of-view during a comedy show in London. “Believe all women, believe all women… except Amber Heard,” he reportedly joked during the show.
Other stars like Lance Bass and Drew Barrymore faced backlash for their reactions to the trial. Lance posted a TikTok video of himself acting out the story told in one of the testimonies, but he deleted the clip after fans called him out for it. Drew offered an apology for calling the trial “crazy” in an Instagram video. “I can be a more thoughtful and better person moving forward, because all I want to do is be a good person, and I very much appreciate the depth of this, and I will grow and change from it, and I thank everyone for helping me grow along the way and teaching me,” she said.