On Wednesday, a jury in Fairfax County, Va., found that Heard defamed Depp when she wrote about her experience as a domestic abuse survivor in a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post. Depp sued Heard for $50 million but was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages; Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to Virginia’s statutory cap of $350,000.
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye,” Depp said in a statement following the verdict.
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career,” he continued, adding, “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Depp went on to say he only decided to pursue the case after careful thought, “knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life.”
He reiterated testimony he delivered earlier in the trial, saying that his goal was always to reveal the truth, regardless of what the jury decided. “I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that,” Depp said.
The actor added that he’s “overwhelmed” by the support he’s received, and hopes “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.” He continued, “I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
Finally, Depp thanked the court and its staff for sacrificing “their own time to get to this point” and thanked his “diligent and unwavering” lawyers for doing “an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth.”
“The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun,” he concluded.
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Depp’s jubilant reaction comes in stark contrast to Heard, who issued her own thoughts on the verdict. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she said. “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’s most disappointed by “what this verdict means for other women,” calling it a “setback.” She explained, “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
Ultimately, Heard blamed Depp’s lawyers for convincing “the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the U.K. 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.”
Wednesday’s ruling comes after Depp lost his libel lawsuit against The Sun in 2020. He sued the British newspaper over its use of the word “wife-beater” in a piece centered on Heard’s allegations. A judge ruled that the article was “substantially true” and that “the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.” Depp tried to overturn the ruling but was unsuccessful. Citing the U.K. verdict, Heard initially sought to dismiss the defamation case in Virginia, but Depp was ultimately granted the right to pursue the case in the U.S.