In probably the biggest and most publicized celebrity trial of this century, the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard debacle has finally come to a close. The basic breakdown of the arguments was this: Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation in an Op-Ed she wrote for the Washington Post in he claimed she was making statements that he (Depp) had sexually abused her. Heard countersued with her own defamation lawsuit. The trial was long and at times ridiculous, with Heard’s lawyers becoming infamous to the public as they bumbled over themselves throughout the trial. It finally ended today, though, as the jury read out their verdicts in court.
In the case of action against Amber Heard, the jury declared that Johnny Depp had proven defamation on all three counts brought before them, answering “Yes” to every one of the questions they were asked and declaring Heard’s guilt in the matter. As a result, Heard has been hit with $10 million in a compensatory payment, as well as another $5 million in punitive damages. This means that Depp won $15 million total in his suit against his ex-wife.
Ruling in favor of Depp on all of these counts of defamation means that the jury essentially ruled that Heard had made up the stories of domestic and sexual abuse from Depp and written the Op-Ed in a direct effort to hurt Johnny Depp’s character, reputation, career, etc. It also means that they believe that she lied repeatedly while on the stand during the trial.
On the other side, Amber Heard did win one of her counterclaims against Depp for defamation. The jury found that publication released bashing Heard was done on behalf of Johnny Depp and was untrue and defamatory. This was the only counterclaim she won, and she was awarded $2 million in a compensatory payout with no money in punitive damages.
The overall outcome of the case is a major win for Johnny Depp. His career took a major hit after the initial incident of Heard’s defamatory Op-Ed, causing him to forfeit his role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series, as well as being booted from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as Jack Sparrow, a role he now says he will never take on again. Though he missed out on new work and roles he previously held, the outlook of his future in Hollywood is now much brighter as his name has essentially been cleared as an abuser. Heard, on the other hand, is not going to be in a better off position. Hollywood, the people, and the media have all rallied behind Depp throughout the trial, and now that the jury has found her guilty of the defamation, it means people will most likely look at her as a liar – someone who takes away from real victims of sexual and domestic abuse whose voices are actually silenced.
Heard has already released a statement reacting to the outcome, saying, “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.”
Depp has thanked the attorneys, judge, court staff, and, perhaps most importantly, the jury for the process and ultimate outcome of the trial and said the outcome of the trial has left him “truly humbled.” He also added, “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Even though the trial has now ended and the verdict has been delivered, it’s safe to say that it will leave a large impact on the media, as we will definitely see a lot of conversation come out of this in the coming days, weeks, and maybe even months.