The contentious legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has reached a conclusion.
More than six weeks after the trial centered around Depp's $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife began in a Virginia courtroom, a jury reached a decision. After 13 hours of deliberations, the jury ruled that Heard was liable of defaming Depp.
The jury awarded $10 million to Depp in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate later reduced the punitive damages to $350,000, which is the state's statutory cap or legal limit, making his total damages $10.4 million.
As for Heard's countersuit, the jury awarded the actress $2 million in compensatory damages.
Soon after the verdict was read on June 1, Heard released a statement expressing disappointment at the jury's decision. "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 said. "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."
As for Depp, he released a statement thanking the jury for giving him his life back. "From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome," he said via his spokesperson. "Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."
"I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world," Depp added. "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. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media."
According to NBC News, crowds outside the courtroom cheered after learning of the verdict in support of Depp.
The Pirates of the Caribbean alum filed the multi-million-dollar suit against his ex-wife in March 2019 after she wrote an essay for the Washington Post the year prior, describing herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." Although the article never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys previously said in court documents that Heard's op-ed was all part of an "elaborate hoax," alleging that she "concocted the story in hopes of generating positive publicity and to advance her career."
In 2020, the actress filed a $100 million countersuit against her ex, alleging that after she was granted a temporary restraining order, Depp "unlawfully targeted" her in an "ongoing harassment and online smear campaign."
Just a few days before the trial began, Heard shared a rare statement on social media, explaining why she would be "offline for the next several weeks."
"Johnny is suing me for an op-ed I wrote in the Washington Post, in which I recounted my experience of violence and domestic abuse," she wrote in an Instagram post shared on April 9. "I wrote about the price women pay for speaking out against men in power. I continue to pay that price, but hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny."
Five years after the couple—who were married from February 2015 to January 2017—broke up, followers of the case heard graphic and upsetting allegations about the couple's marriage for the first time, including accusations of physical abuse from both parties.
Additionally, both Heard and Depp testified that the allegations had a staggering effect on their individual professions. During his testimony, Depp claimed he "planned on continuing" to star in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise before Heard's op-ed was published in 2018 (the last installment was released in 2017). And while on the stand, Heard claimed her role in Aquaman 2 (set for 2023) was "very pared down" due to the legal saga.
For more on every shocking revelation that took place during the course of the defamation trial, click here.