Why Johnny Depp Must Pay Amber Heard $2 Million After Winning Defamation Trial

The jury in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial just finalized its verdict, and here's why the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star will still have to pay his ex a hefty sum.

View gallery
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Attorneys for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard failed to reach a last-minute settlement in his defamation case on Friday (June 24). Since the two legal teams couldn’t reach some kind of agreement after the jury found that Amber, 36, defamed Johnny, 59, the judge overseeing the case finalized the verdict, per Insider. Now, Amber will have to pay Johnny $10.35 million in damages, while Johnny owes his former wife $2 million.

Johnny owes Amber because she countersued him and one of his attorneys, Adam Waldman, for defamation when he described her accusations of abuse as a hoax. When the jury sided with Depp in all three of his claims against his ex-wife, they granted him $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. Depp originally sued Amber for $50 million, and his $15 million in damages was reduced to $10.35 because of caps set by state law.


Because Amber and Johnny’s team couldn’t settle before the verdict was finalized, the appeals phase of this drama now begins. After 21 days, the case will move to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and then both parties will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal, per the New York Post. Amber has already vowed to appeal the ruling. “As stated in yesterday’s congressional hearings, you don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent. And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right,” a spokesperson for Amber Heard said in a statement to HollywoodLife after the court finalized the verdict.

Earlier in June, Benjamin Chew, a lawyer for Depp’s team, hinted that Johnny might be willing to forgo having his ex-wife pay those damages if she agreed not to file an appeal. “We obviously can’t disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified … this was never about money for Mr. Depp,” Chew said on Good Morning America. When appearing on Today to talk with Savannah Guthrie (whose husband, Michael Feldman, provided consulting services for Johnny’s legal team, per HuffPost), Chew said that Depp’s team feels “very confident that there are no errors that would justify any kind of successful appeal.”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard at ‘The Rum Diary’ photocall in Paris in 2012 (Shutterstock)

Heard stands by her testimony. In a Dateline interview, Amber told Savannah Guthrie (again, the wife of someone who worked on Depp’s team) that she understands why victims of domestic abuse would be wary of speaking out. “Look what happened to me when I came forward,” she said. “Would you?”

Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me, look me in the eye and tell me, that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” she added. “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”

More From Our Partners