Depp Wins Defamation Suit Against Heard As Debate Over Trial Continues

Live Updates
  • Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard. A jury awarded Depp with $15 million in damages Wednesday afternoon after deliberating for three days.
  • Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages after jurors concluded she proved defamation on one count in a counterclaim against Depp for statements made by his former lawyer Adam Waldman who said the actress was staging an "abuse hoax."
  • Depp sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote in 2018, claiming it damaged his career. Heard did not name Depp in the article, entitled, "I spoke up against sexual violence—and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change." His lawyers argue it was obviously about him.
  • Both Heard and Depp responded to the verdict with very different statements. The internet has been abuzz about what the trial means for domestic abuse allegations and the MeToo movement.

Live updates for this blog have ended.

Heard arrives to court
Amber Heard arrives to hear the verdict in the Depp v. Heard trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1, 2022. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Online Abuse Heaped on Heard Raises Concerns

Advocacy groups and commentators are denouncing what they call misogynistic online abuse directed at Amber Heard, raising concerns that domestic abuse victims will be afraid to come forward.

After Johnny Depp won his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife for her domestic abuse claims against him, social media users have rallied to the actor as a symbol of the MeToo movement gone too far. But others found reason to worry.

"The trial has turned into a public orgy of misogyny," Guardian columnist Moira Donegan wrote. "While most of the vitriol is nominally directed at Heard, it is hard to shake the feeling that really, it is directed at all women – and in particular, at those of us who spoke out about gendered abuse and sexual violence during the height of the #MeToo movement."

Moira wrote that some Depp supporters didn't deny, but approved of, any abuse the actor directed at his ex-wife. She wrote that Heard has been subject to cruel mockery online, even after a British court backed up some of her allegations.

Clémence Michallon, who covered the trial for the Independent, wrote that she was unnerved by how everything Heard did "from the ways she smiled or cried or wiped her nose — was immediately interpreted in the least hospitable light" becoming fodder for memes and flippant tweets.

"It all defied, to me, the boundaries of acceptable human behavior," she wrote.

Know Your IX, an advocacy group seeking to end gender-based violence at schools, wrote on Twitter that abusers have used defamation suits and other court tactics to silence their victims.

"The smear campaign against Amber Heard isn't a silencing and discrediting tactic only celebrities face," the group wrote. "Student survivors who report and speak have shared that their abusers and others have attempted to keep them quiet through public attacks."

Video Shows Depp in Good Spirits at Pub as Verdict Read

A reportedly upbeat Johnny Depp was filmed in a pub in Newcastle, England around the time the verdict in his defamation trial against his ex-wife was delivered.

A video posted online shows the actor being ushered past patrons in The Bridge Tavern pub as he stopped to greet well-wishers.

Depp was in a good mood shortly before the verdict in the highly watched defamation case was read, pub-goers told People. The actor was at the tavern hanging out with musicians Jeff Beck and Sam Fender,

"He was leaving from the upstairs place, which is where I managed to see him [to] shake his hand and [I] spoke to him very, very briefly," Gary Spedding told People. "He smiled at me and said, 'Thank you,' and gave me a wink. And he seemed very gracious and happy with where he was and things like that."

Speeding said once people recognized Depp they became excited, clapping for the actor.

Ryan Adams Dragged on Instagram for Johnny Depp Support

Ryan Adams' support for Johnny Depp on Instagram backfired, with users of the social media platform bringing up the singer-songwriter's own alleged misconduct.

Depp posted a statement to Instagram after a jury determined ex-wife Amber Heard's domestic abuse allegations were defamatory. Adams reacted to Depp's post with a red heart emoji, hands raised emoji and a fire emoji.

Instagram users responded to Adams' reaction by bringing up sexual misconduct and emotional abuse allegations against him from multiple women, including ex-wife Mandy Moore and ex-girlfriend Phoebe Bridgers.

Adams was dropped from his label after The New York Times reported the allegations. Since then, Adams has disputed some of the article's details but said he wants to make amends.

One Instagram user replied to Adams, "delete and head directly to jail."

Another wrote, "you and johnny are not the same. He was innocent and had 1 woman lying on him. You had 7+ women all with the same story dont try to ride off his victory now."

Amber Heard Now 'Unemployable': Megyn Kelly

Broadcaster and commentator Megyn Kelly says actress Amber Heard will have a hard time finding work after ex-husband Johnny Depp successfully sued her for her domestic violence allegations.

During an appearance on attorney Floyd Abrams' Speaking Freely podcast, Kelly said Heard is "professionally ruined" for now. Kelly said that's despite Hollywood being "very liberal" and in the the "knee jerk 'I believe all women camp.'"

"The problem for her in Hollywood is the nation watched this trial, and they decided she was a liar and and (Depp) was a truth-teller," said Kelly, referencing a petition to remove Heard from the next Aquaman movie.

Kelly said that Heard now symbolizes "more than a woman who falsely accused a beloved actor." The actress, Kelly said, now represents all women believed to have made false accusations.

"Now that's unfair, but that's where we are, and that's why I say she's probably unemployable," said Kelly.

MSNBC and Fox News Have Different Takes on Impact of Depp-Heard Verdict

MSNBC and Fox News ran segments with decidedly different takes on a jury determining that Amber Heard defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp with a 2018 op-ed implying he had abused her.

Lawyer and legal analyst Caroline Polisi said the jury's verdict will have a "massive chilling effect" on the MeToo movement and women being willing to speak up about abuse they've suffered. After the verdict, Heard issued a statement calling it a "setback" for women, saying Depp's attorney convinced the jury to overlook freedom of speech and evidence supporting her abuse allegations.

"Absolutely, without a doubt, this will have farther reaching reaching repercussions on the cultural moment that that we find ourselves in today," she said.

She said Heard had "an uphill battle" against Depp who had more resources for his case. All Heard's lawyers needed to do was prove one instance "of potential physical violence" during her marriage with Depp, said Polisi. But Depp's attorneys undermined her credibility before jurors.

Meanwhile, Fox News personality Judge Jeanine Pirro said Heard's allegations will hurt "real battered women," saying she was "touched" by Depp's statement that he now had his life back.

"Everything changed for him because a woman made a decision that she was going to ride on the coattails of real battered women," said Pirro.

She added, "unfortunately, this will hurt battered women coming forward behind her." But Heard felt "the wrath" of the justice system, said Pirro.

Donald Trump Jr. Says Heard is 'Just That Terrible'

One of former President Donald Trump's sons weighed in on the verdict reached Wednesday in Johnny Depp's defamation trial against Amber Heard.

In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump Jr. started his post by writing, "Believe all women... except Amber Heard."

Trump Jr. went on to reference the $15 million in damages that the jury awarded to Depp after finding he had been defamed by Heard on all counts. The jury meanwhile found Heard proved defamation on one, but not all of the counts, her legal team brought in its counterclaim against Depp. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

"$15,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to Depp, and perhaps a case that could end the effective rabid femminist [sic] notion that all men are guilty before being proven innocent that we've seen as of late," Trump Jr.'s tweet said. "She's just that terrible!"

Donald Trump Jr. reacts to verdict
Amber Heard (R) departs the Fairfax County Courthouse on June 1, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Monica Lewinsky Says Trial 'Stoked the Flames of Misogyny'

Monica Lewinsky penned an article for Vanity Fair about the cultural fascination with the trial. The piece was published on Tuesday, one day before the jury reached its verdict.

In the article, Lewinsky referenced the time she has spent under a media microscope and said the kind of focus placed on Johnny Depp and Amber Heard amid the defamation case has lasting impacts on the people who are at the center of the "legal spectacle."

Lewinsky wrote that the trial alone "would be sad enough" if its impact was limited to Heard, Depp and their families but acknowledged it can also have impacts on individuals who have nothing to do with the actors but who have experienced domestic violence.

"However, it's the larger implications for our culture that concern me the most: the ways we have stoked the flames of misogyny and, separately, the celebrity circus," Lewinsky wrote.

She went on to write about the "implicit messaging" throughout the trial and said the public has "contemptuously co-opted the trial for our own purposes."

"No matter whom the jury's verdict favors—be it defendant Heard or plaintiff Depp—we are guilty," Lewinsky's piece concluded.

Petition Bumps Heard for Camille Vasquez in 'Aquaman 2'

A Change.org petition suggested replacing actress Amber Heard with Camille Vasquez, an attorney for Johnny Depp, in the forthcoming Aquaman movie sequel.

The petition was launched five days ago but began gaining traction Wednesday after the jury in Depp's defamation case against Heard reached its verdict.

Heard had a supporting role in the first Aquaman movie, which was released in 2018. She is slated to appear in the sequel, which is expected to be released in 2023.

Heard is a "'credible' actor," the petition said, but added, "If Camille is half the actor she is as a lawyer this will be an absolute blockbuster of a film."

More than 2,400 people signed the petition by Wednesday evening.

Another petition focused on gathering support for removing Heard from future Aquaman films has accumulated millions of signatures since it launched. That petition was close to reaching its 4.5 million signature goal by Wednesday.

Jack Sparrow GIF Tweeted by House GOP

The Twitter account for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee shared a GIF of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow after the jury in Depp's defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard reached a verdict.

The jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages after finding Depp had been defamed by Heard on all three counts. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages after finding she proved defamation in her counterclaim on one count but not on two others.

As news of Depp's victory spread, fans gathered outside the courthouse in celebration. Supporters of Depp and Heard have appeared at the courthouse often during the course of the trial, sometimes while wearing costumes inspired by characters the actors have played in film. Many have dressed as Jack Sparrow, Depp's character in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The GIF posted by House Judiciary Committee Republicans showed Sparrow standing on a ship as the wind whirls around him. No text accompanied the tweet, but the GIF accumulated more than 4,700 likes and more than 1,000 retweets in the first two hours after it was posted.

Petition to Remove Heard from 'Aquaman 2' Nears Record

The petition to remove Amber Heard from "Aquaman 2" is nearing a record number of signatures.

The petition has more than 4.4 million signatures. If it hits 4.5 million signatures, it will become one of the most signed petition on Change.org's history. Since the verdict was delivered, the number of signatures have continued to climb.

"Since Heard's divorce from Johnny Depp, she has systematically crusaded to ruin Depp in Hollywood, repeating multiple accounts of fake incidents in which she had actually abused Johnny Depp, but lied and created false accounts of him being the abuser," the petition reads.

The petition, which is addressed to Warner Brothers Studio and DC Entertainment, was started over two years ago.

"As Amber Heard is a known and proven domestic abuser, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment should and must remove Heard from their Aquaman 2 film project," the petition reads. "They must not ignore the suffering of Heard's victims, and must not glamorize a domestic abuser."

Camille Vasquez, Depp's Legal Team Celebrate Win

Johnny Depp's legal team, including attorneys Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew, were seen smiling and hugging as Judge Penney Azcarate read the jury's verdict Wednesday afternoon.

Depp was not present, as sources say he had prior commitments in the U.K.

Shortly thereafter, Vasquez and Chew shared a public statement outside of the courtroom in front of a large crowd.

"Today's verdict confirms what we have said from the beginning: That the claims against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence," Vasquez said. "We are grateful—so grateful—to the jury for their careful deliberation, to the judge and the court staff who have devoted an enormous amount of time and resources towards this case."

Chew said he and the other members of Depp's team were "truly honored" to present Depp's case.

"We are also most pleased that the trial has resonated for so many people and the public, who value truth and justice," Chew said. "Now that the jury has reached its conclusive verdict, it's time to turn the page and look to the future."

Camille Vasquez, Depp’s Legal Team Celebrate Win
Benjamin Chew (L) and Camille Vasquez, attorneys for actor Johnny Depp, address the media outside the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1, 2022. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

'The Jury Gave Me My Life Back,' Depp Says

Johnny Depp said he is "humbled" by Wednesday's verdict.

In a statement, Depp said that six years ago, his life and the lives of his children and supporters "were forever changed... in the blink of an eye."

Depp said the "false, very serious and criminal allegations" levied against him in the media triggered an "endless barrage of hateful content" that had a "seismic impact" on his life and his career.

"Six years later, the jury gave me my life back," he said, adding that his decision to pursue this case amid the risk of legal hurdles and spectacle "was only made after considerable thought."

Depp said his goal in bringing this case was to "reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome." He said he feels "at peace" knowing that his accomplished his goal in "speaking the truth."

Depp added that he has been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of the love and "colossal support and kindness from around the world."

"I hope that me quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up," he said. "I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media."

Depp thanked the judge, jurors and his legal team and said "the best is yet to come."

"A new chapter has finally begun," he said.

Amber Heard 'Heartbroken' Over Verdict

Amber Heard said she is disappointed and heartbroken over today's verdict in the defamation trial against her.

"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words," she said in a statement to Newsweek. "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband."

Heard said she is "even more disappointed" for the implications this verdict has on other women, calling it a "setback."

"It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated," she said. "It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."

Heard added that she believed Depp's attorney's succeeded in getting the jury to "overlook the key issue of freedom of speech" and "ignore evidence" from the U.K. trial she won against Depp.

"I'm sad I lost this case," she said. "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."

Heard Awarded $2M in Compensatory Damages

The jury found that Amber Heard proved some, but not all, of the defamation claims her legal team made in the countersuit against Johnny Depp. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

The jury's decisions focused on three statements made by Depp attorney Adam Waldman published by The Daily Mail.

The first statement was from an April 8, 2020 article, where Waldman said: "Amber Heard and her friends in the media used fake sexual violence allegations as both sword and shield, depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax 'facts' as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr. Depp."

The jury said Heard did not prove all elements of defamation for that statement.

The second statement was from an April 27, 2020 Daily Mail article.

"Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax," Waldman said. "They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn't do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911."

The jury said Heard's team did prove all elements of defamation for that second statement.

A third statement also published by The Daily Mail in late April said: "We've reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard's abuse hoax against Johnny Depp."

The jury said Heard's legal team had not proven defamation for that third statement.

Heard awarded $2M in compensatory damages
Amber Heard departs the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1, 2022. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Depp Defamed on All Three Counts, Jury Finds

The jury has found Johnny Depp has proven all the elements of defamation for three statements made by Heard.

The three statements from Heard's 2018 op-ed include:

  • "I spoke up against sexual violence—and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change"
  • "Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out"
  • "I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse"

The jury found that all three statements were defamatory against Depp.

According to the jury, these statements:

  • were made by Heard
  • were about Depp
  • were false
  • had defamatory implication against Depp
  • had defamatory implications intended by Heard
  • had a defamatory implication to someone else besides Depp

The jury also found Depp proved Heard acted with actual malice when making all three statements.

Depp was awarded a total of $15 million in damages.

Depp Wins Defamation Suit Against Heard

The jury found that Johnny Depp proved Amber Heard made defamatory statements against him.

Depp won his claim based on three statements Heard made in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed entitled "I spoke up against sexual violence—and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change."

Jurors award $10 million compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to Depp.

Heard Enters Court with Sister

Amber Heard is present in the Virginia courtroom for the reading of the verdict.

Heard was seen entering the courtroom with her sister, Whitney Heard, just before the jury was called in. She greeted her legal team and mouthed "I love you sis" to Whitney before the jury entered, according to Court TV's Chanley Sha Painter.

The gallery was hushed before the jury entered, Painter said in a tweet. When the jury arrived, they reportedly did not look at Heard, only at Judge Penney Azcarate.

Amber Heard in Court
Amber Heard and her sister Whitney Heard (R) arrive at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on June 1, 2022. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Jury Sent Back to Fill Out Damages Form

The jury returned to the courtroom Wednesday afternoon to present their verdict, but were quickly sent back to complete a compensatory damages report.

Judge Penney Azcarate welcomed the court at 3 p.m. ET and quickly called the attorneys for Amber Heard and Johnny Depp up for a brief sidebar. When the attorneys returned to their seats, Azcarate told the jury they needed to complete the damages form, even if they were only awarding a small amount.

"It has to be at least $1 for compensatory damages, and up to whatever you feel the damages should be," Azcarate told them.

The jurors were then sent back to complete the damages form while court went on a brief recess. The move suggests that defamation was found on someone's part.

Kate Moss Attended Depp's England Concert

Kate Moss attended one of Johnny Depp's London concerts on Tuesday as the jury in Depp's case against Amber Heard deliberated, according to People.

Her presence at the concert stirred up hopes among fans that she and Depp will reconcile a romantic relationship.

Tuesday's concert marked Depp's third evening performance in a row with guitarist Jeff Beck, whom Depp has collaborated with in the past.

Her attendance comes days after Moss previously testified on Depp's behalf in his case against Heard.

Heard Takes Jab at Depp's Absence

A spokesperson for Amber Heard took a jab at Johnny Depp for missing the verdict reading in Virginia.

"Your presence shows where your priorities are," the spokesperson told WJLA. "Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour."

Heard drew a similar comparison during her testimony in the trial, claiming that she has not been "snickering, laughing or making jokes" in the courtroom as Depp has been seen doing.

Depp Will Not be in Court for Verdict

Johnny Depp will not be present in court for the verdict reading Wednesday.

A source close to Depp told Law & Crime Network that Depp has prior commitments in the United Kingdom.

"Due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial, Mr. Depp will not be physically present for today's 3pm verdict and will be watching from the United Kingdom," the statement said.

Depp flew to the U.K. during the deliberations over the holiday weekend to perform with guitarist Jeff Beck.

Heard is expected to be in the courtroom live for the verdict. Depp and Heard do not have to be present for the verdict reading.

"They're not required to be there because it's not a criminal case," Atlanta attorney Manny Arora told Newsweek. "But 99 percent of the time, people will be there."

While neither the plaintiff nor the defendant must be present during a verdict reading in a civil trial, both actors' legal teams will be there.

Jury Reaches Verdict

The jury has reached a verdict in the Johnny Depp, Amber Heard defamation trial.

This comes after three days of deliberation after closing arguments were given last Friday. The jury deliberated for approximately 12 hours and 45 minutes.

The verdict will be read live in court at 3 p.m. ET, watch live below.