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If you’ve been following along with their trial, you’re probably curious to find out Johnny Depp’s verdict in his case against Amber Heard. Now, that the verdict is out, we’re diving into everything we know about the results of Johnny vs. Amber’s 2022 defamation trial.
Long before they found themselves at the center of a media storm during their trial, Johnny and Amber were romantically involved for years. The pair met for the first time in 2009 when they worked together on the set of The Rum Diary. At the time, both actors were in committed relationships with other people: Johnny was in a relationship with French model Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares daughter Lily-Rose and son Jack, whereas Amber, who came out as bisexual in 2010, was linked to artist Tasya van Ree. By the time they reconnected in 2012, both Johnny and Amber had already broken things off with their respective partners—but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have feelings for each other earlier. During one of his court hearings in 2022, Johnny admitted that he began developing feelings for Amber while the pair were working together on the set of their 2011 film, despite still being in a relationship with the mother of his children at the time.
After a few years of dating, Johnny and Amber decided to tie the knot in 2015. However, their marriage was short-lived. Amber filed for divorce the next year and was granted a restraining order against the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. The former couple went on to reach an out-of-court divorce settlement in 2017. Amber received $7 million from the settlement, all of which was reportedly donated to charity. Though their divorce was finalized, their relationship clearly wasn’t done making headlines quite yet.
For everything we know about Johnny Depp’s verdict in his case against Amber Heard—including why Johnny is suing Amber in the first place, along with what the result was—just keep on reading below.
Why did Johnny Depp sue Amber Heard?
Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post, where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse. Although the article did not mention Johnny by name, the timing of the article following their divorce created the public impression that he was her abuser. Johnny denied all allegations of abuse and sued his ex-wife for defamation, claiming that her story caused personal and financial damage to his reputation by costing him roles in franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts. Amber, for her part, has countersued Johnny for $100 million after his lawyer claimed that her allegations were false.
Over in the U.K., Johnny also sued the publishers of British newspaper The Sun in a related libel suit after the paper published an article calling him a “wife-beater.” British courts ultimately ruled against Johnny in 2020. His trial in the U.S. kicked off two years later in April 2022.
What is the final verdict for Johnny Depp Vs. Amber Heard?
So what is Johnny Depp’s verdict in his case against Amber Heard? The verdict was announced on June 1, 2022, at 3 p.m. ET. The jury found Amber liable of all three counts of defamation in Johnny’s lawsuit brought against her over her allegations of domestic abuse in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Amber will have to pay Johnny $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for a total of $15 million. As for Amber’s countersuit against Johnny, Johnny was found liable of one count. He will have to pay $2 million in compensatory damages and zero dollars in punitive damages for a total of $2 million. Due to the cap on punitive damages under Virginia state law, Judge Penney Azcarate reduced Heard’s punitive damages from $5 million to $350,000. If Amber and Johnny’s damages are netted against each other, Amber will have to pay Johnny a total of $8.35 million in damages, accounting for the $2 million in compensatory damages he owes her.
In a statement after the verdict, Amber called the result “disappointing” and a “setback” for women. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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,” her statement read. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.” She continued, “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. I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. 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.”
The verdict came five days after Johnny and Amber’s legal teams made their closing statements on May 27, 2022. After final arguments took place, the jury went off to deliberate whether Amber defamed Johnny in her 2018 Washington Post article. After more than 12 hours of deliberations behind closed doors, the verdict was reached and read aloud in a Fairfax County, Virginia, courtroom on June 1, 2022. Depp wasn’t present at the verdict hearing and was watching from the United Kingdom, where he’s been performing rock concerts with Jeff Beck since May 30, 2022. After court was adjourned, Heard her lawyers and immediately exited the courtroom. Her legal team and family followed her.
The names of the seven-person jury will remain sealed for at least one year. The jury consisted of five men and two women. The verdict was scheduled to be read right at 3 p.m. ET, but the judge noticed that the jury forgot to fill out on the forms what the damages would be, so they were sent back to the deliberation room to complete the paperwork, which caused a delay in the proceedings.
Kimberly Lau, a lawyer at Warshaw Burstein specializing in libel and slander cases, predicted Sky News before the verdict was announced that the deliberation for Johnny and Amber’s trial would be tricky. “Both sides have done a fair job at exposing the other’s less than finer moments,” she shared. “What will make this trial particularly challenging for a jury is the fact that both parties are trained actors whose job is to make the audience believe they are, in fact, the role they play. The testimony of the witnesses and documentary evidence will be even more essential for the jury to determine who is really telling the truth and who may be merely acting out a role.”
She continued, “Having a jury of several individuals—in this case, seven—makes a big difference in the deliberation process. The opinion of one is not enough; all seven must agree. And while judges, unlike juries, already have an understanding of the law, the jury is comprised of several individuals whose life experiences can have an impact on how they view and weigh the evidence at trial.” But what happens now that Johnny has won? Keep on reading ahead for what we know.
What does Johnny Depp’s trial verdict mean?
Because Johnny won against Amber, it means that the jury has decided that Amber defamed him in her 2018 article for the Washington Post and the actor will be awarded damages. Johnny originally sought $50 million in compensation, but the jury decided to award the Pirates of the Caribbean star only $15 million of the amount he seeks.
It’s important to note that neither Johnny or Amber are being tried on criminal charges. This is a civil case, which means that Amber will not go to prison, even though the jury decided in Johnny’s favor, and vice versa.
Did Johnny Depp win his 2022 trial against Amber Heard?
So, did Johnny win? Yes, Johnny won in his trial against Amber. The jury found Amber guilty of all three counts of defamation in Johnny’s lawsuit brought against her over her allegations of domestic abuse in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Amber will have to pay Johnny $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for a total of $15 million. As for Amber’s countersuit against Johnny, Johnny was found guilty of one count. He will have to pay $2 million in compensatory damages and zero dollars in punitive damages for a total of $2 million.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) for confidential support.