The United States jury found Amber Heard guilty of defaming her ex-husband Johnny Depp in an article in which she claimed she was the victim of domestic abuse. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were married in February 2015 and divorced two years later.
Mr. Depp, who denied abusing Ms. Heard, was awarded $15 million (£12 million) in compensatory and punitive damages by the jury. Ms. Heard, 36, was given $2 million in compensatory damages after winning one of three counter-claims against Mr. Depp, 58.
In the trial, the Hollywood stars, who divorced in 2017, gave opposing accounts of their tragic love. In Fairfax, Virginia, the court heard tawdry details of Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard’s tumultuous marriage and its unhappy termination over six weeks.
Many Americans, according to polls, were more engaged in the legal drama than the crisis in Ukraine or a possibly historic abortion verdict anticipated from the US Supreme Court any day. The trial was aired and live-streamed, and it received billions of views on social media.
On Wednesday, jurors concluded that Ms. Heard’s assertions about her marriage were “false” and that she acted with “actual malice” after nearly two days of deliberation. They also discovered that Mr. Depp had defamed Ms. Heard in a statement to the Daily Mail in 2020. His lawyer called her abuse allegations a fake.
Outside the court, yells and chants of “Johnny, Johnny, Johnny” erupted as the seven-member jury delivered their judgment.
According to his spokeswoman, Mr. Depp could not attend court owing to “already established job engagements.” The actor has been rumored to be watching from the United Kingdom, where he has performed three surprise concerts with British musician Jeff Beck.