Johnny Depp wins defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard - Key Highlights

Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse."

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, June 02, 2022, 04:37 PM IST

A jury on Wednesday ruled in favour of Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, vindicating his stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their brief marriage.

The jury also found in favour of Heard, who said she was defamed by Depp's lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.

Jury members found Depp should be awarded $15 million in damages, while Heard should receive $2 million.

The verdicts bring an end to a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle of a vicious marriage. Fans - overwhelmingly on Depp's side - lined up overnight to grab a seat in the courtroom. Spectators who couldn't get in lined up on the street to cheer Depp and jeer Heard whenever either appeared outside.

Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse." His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.

Here are some highlights from the trial that has been garnering headlines for the past few weeks.

  • Depp testified he never struck Heard and that he was the abuse victim. He said he was punched and struck by her on many occasions, and that she threw things at him. He described Heard as having a "need for conflict."

  • Heard said the first act of physical violence came as she was looking at one of his tattoos and couldn't read it. She laughed when Depp told her it said "Wino" - an alteration to a tattoo he had made when he'd been dating actor Winona Ryder.

  • Heard said she laughed after he slapped her, thinking it must be a joke. He then slapped her two more times, the third time knocking her off balance, Heard said.

  • The March 2015 incident in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie, is sharply disputed and has been a focal point of the trial.

  • Heard tearfully told jurors that Johnny Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle in an alcohol-fuelled rage.

  • Depp denies assaulting her in any way and says his finger was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him; Heard said she'd taken sleeping pills after she was attacked and was not awake when the finger was severed.

  • Depp has even accused his ex of defecating on their bed in an act of aggression.

  • One of his security guards said Heard told him it was "a horrible practical joke gone wrong." However, Heard denied any such claims and suggested one of the couple's dogs was responsible.

  • Depp told the court he repeatedly told her to cut him during a meeting in July 2016 - two months after she filed for divorce - because his blood "was the only thing she didn't have."

  • The court also heard a phone call between Heard and Depp, which he claimed took place between May and July 2016.

  • In the audio, she challenged him to take her to court and see who would believe him if he made allegations of domestic abuse.

  • Heard said: "Tell people it was a fair fight and see what the jury and judge think. Tell the world I, Johnny Depp, a man, am a victim of domestic violence and see how many people believe or side with you."

  • Heard's credibility as a philanthropist also took a battering when it was claimed she had not donated her $3.5 million divorce settlement to charity, something she had promised publicly to do. She had apparently donated only $1.3 million and much of that appeared to have come from her former boyfriend, billionaire Elon Musk.

  • The couple met on the 'Rum Diary' set in 2011 and got married in 2015. However, the marriage was short-lived. They split in May 2016.

  • The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation case came to an end after six weeks on Friday May 27.

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