A US court on Wednesday awarded more than $10 million (over Rs 77 crore) in damages to actor Johnny Depp after the jury sided with him on a libel lawsuit against his former wife, actor Amber Heard, Reuters reported.
Depp had sued Heard on counts of defamation after she had written an article in The Washington Post in 2018, describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.
Even though Depp’s name was not mentioned in the article, his lawyer had argued that it was an example of “defamation by implication” and had demanded $50 million (over Rs 388 crore).
Heard had filed a countersuit demanding $100 million (or Rs 776 crore). She alleged that her reputation had been damaged when Depp’s lawyer called her accusations a “hoax”, according to The Associated Press.
In its ruling, the court found that Heard had also been defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who had accused her of damaging the couple’s apartment and blaming it on Depp. The court directed Depp to pay $2 million (Rs 15.50 crore) to Heard on this count, according to Reuters.
During the trial, which was televised for nearly six weeks, Heard had also accused Depp of sexual assault and physical abuse during their marriage. Depp had fiercely denied these charges saying that he had never hit Heard or any other woman.
The actor had instead accused Heard of turning violent in their relationship and said that her allegations have cost him “everything”.
The couple got married in February 2015 and got divorced a year later.
After the verdict, Heard said she was heartbroken.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women,” she said. “It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
On the other hand, Depp said that the jury gave him his life back. “I’m truly humbled,” he said.