Johnny Depp Loses Libel Case Against British Tabloid

A judge in High Court ruled against actor Johnny Depp in his libel case against The Sun. Scroll on for more details on the legal proceedings.

By Jess Cohen Nov 02, 2020 1:14 PMTags
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A judge has ruled against Johnny Depp in High Court.

On Monday, Nov. 2, a judge dismissed the Oscar nominee's claim against News Group Newspapers. Back in 2018, Depp sued The Sun over an article in which he was labeled a "wife beater" in reference to his marriage to Amber Heard. Depp has denied the claim. In the ruling on Monday, the judge stated, "Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true."

In response to the ruling, Depp's legal team has confirmed that they plan to appeal the decision.

"This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering," attorney Jenny Afia said in a statement. "Most troubling is the Judge's reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point."

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"All of this was overlooked. The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision," the statement continued. "In the meantime, we hope that in contrast to this case, the ongoing libel proceedings in America are equitable, with both parties providing full disclosure rather than one side strategically cherry picking what evidence can and cannot be relied upon."

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A spokesperson for The Sun also issued a statement after the ruling. "The Sun has stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over 20 years," the statement began. "Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court."

In July, Heard took the witness stand where she shared allegations of verbal and physical abuse against the actor. In a written statement, obtained by E! News, Heard claimed Depp had accused her of having sexual relations with her co-stars and work associates.

Back in 2019, Depp, 57, filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Heard, 34, over her allegations in The Washington Post of domestic abuse. Though Depp is never mentioned by name in the Dec. 2018 piece, he claimed in court documents that the op-ed "depends on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her."

In response to the High Court ruling on Monday, Heard's attorney referenced the ongoing legal battle with Depp. "For those of us present for the London High Court trial, this decision and judgment are not a surprise," lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said. "Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US. We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US court and defending Ms Heard's right to free speech."

For more information on domestic abuse or to get help for yourself or someone you love, visit the website for The National Domestic Violence Hotline ( or call 1-800-799-7233.