Depp-Heard Defamation Case Comes To A Close

Mackenzie Bunn, News, Opinion, & Media Editor

Wednesday saw the close of Johnny Depp’s and Amber Heard’s six-week defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia. After 13 hours of deliberation, the jury came to a unanimous vote that Depp’s team had successfully proven Heard had written the piece with malicious and defamatory intent.


The saga began back in 2016 when Heard divorced Depp on account of his allegedly abusive behavior. However, a 2018 opinion piece written by Heard and published in the Washington Post online officially prompted Depp to sue her for $50 million in 2019. 


Depp claimed that several quotes within the article itself were defamatory: her assertions included her claims of facing society’s wrath for speaking out against her abuse, how she was a “public figure representing domestic abuse,” and that she saw firsthand how men are protected from retribution for abuse.


Shortly after Depp filed his lawsuit, Heard countersued for $100 million, also on counts of defamation.


After the trial’s delay due to COVID-19 in 2020, Depp and Heard were finally able to walk into the Fairfax County Courthouse on April 11.


Though the trial verdict was legally won by Depp, the jury ruled in favor of Heard’s claim that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her by calling her allegati0ns a hoax. However, Heard still expressed dismay about the trial’s outcome.


“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women,” Heard said on Instagram after the verdict’s reading. “It is a setback.”


Meanwhile, Depp released a statement detailing how, “the jury gave me my life back.”


“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. 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,” Depp said in an Instagram post.


“I hope that my 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. The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun.”