Minutes after a jury awarded Johnny Depp $15 million in damages and Amber Heard $2 million in their defamation lawsuits, Heard posted a statement on Instagram.
The jury decided Heard was liable for defaming Depp in a 2018 op-ed published in the Washington Post. They also decided Depp was liable for a statement his attorney made calling Heard’s claims of domestic violence a hoax. While it was a mixed verdict, Depp was awarded more money, and Heard said she felt “disappointment” in the outcome.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Heard wrote in her statement. “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.”
The 36-year-old said she is even more disappointed in “what this verdict means for women,” calling it a “setback.”
“It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke up could be publicly shamed and humiliated,” she said. “It sets back the idea that violence against women should 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 U.K.,” Heard said. In 2020, Depp sued the Sun newspaper and its parent company in the U.K. after it published an article that called him a “wife beater,” BBC News reports.
In that case, Heard gave evidence to the court and a judged ultimately ruled the article to be “substantially true,” saying he found 12 of 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence occurred.
In her statement about the recent case, Heard said she was sad she lost. “But I am sadder still that I seemed to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.“
The dramatic trial began in Fairfax, Virginia in April. Depp sued his ex-wife for $50 million over the op-ed, published in The Washington Post in December 2018. In the op-ed, Heard described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
Both Depp and Heard alleged in their testimony the other had abused them.
Following the verdict, Depp also posted a statement on Instagram, writing, “The jury gave me my life back.“
While the jury said Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, the judge said state law caps punitive damages at $350,000, meaning Depp’s award would total $10.35 million.