Jurors in Virginia on Wednesday ruled in favour of Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, in the libel case brought by the actor against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp had filed a $50 million (€47 million) lawsuit against Heard, arguing that she defamed him in an op-ed for the Washington Post. Jury members found Depp should be awarded more than $10 million (€9.3 million) in damages.
However, the jury also found in favour Heard in some aspects of her $100 million (€93.8 million) counterclaim which said she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax. The jury ruled that Heard should receive $2 million (€1.8 million).
In the article, written in 2018, Heard described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”, but did not include Depp’s name.
The jury had to decide if two particular passages of the article and the headline were defamatory. Because Depp is a public figure, Heard could only be found guilty if it was decided that she knew what she wrote was false.
Heard’s lawyers had told the jury that the case should fail if Heard suffered even one incident of abuse.
Depp, who has starred in blockbuster movies including the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, said he never struck Heard or any woman, and that Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.”
Heard’s attorneys have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected as free speech under the US Constitution’s First Amendment.
“The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” Depp who wasn’t in court for the verdict, said in a statement.
The actor said that the allegations made against him had triggered “an endless barrage of hateful content” which had a “seismic” impact on his life and career.
His statement continued: “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,” he added.
Amber Heard said that the disappointment she felt after the verdict was “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,” she wrote in a statement.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women,” she added.
“It is 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. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
– Input from euronews.com was used in this article