FAIRFAX, Va. –
A jury’s discovering that each Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, had been defamed throughout their long-running public dispute capped a lurid six-week trial that additionally raised questions on whether or not the 2 actors can overcome tarnished reputations.
The decision handed down Wednesday in Virginia discovered that Depp had been defamed by three statements in an op-ed written by his ex-wife during which Heard stated she was an abuse sufferer. The jury awarded him greater than US$10 million. Jurors additionally concluded that Heard was additionally defamed, by a lawyer for Depp who accused her of making an in depth hoax surrounding the abuse allegations. She was awarded $2 million.
Depp had hoped the libel lawsuit would assist restore his fame. Nonetheless, authorized and leisure specialists stated each actors’ reputations have been broken by ugly particulars about their temporary marriage that got here out through the televised trial watched by tens of millions.
“Each of them will work once more, however I feel it is going to be some time earlier than a serious studio will think about them ‘secure’ sufficient to guess on,” stated former leisure lawyer Matthew Belloni, who writes concerning the enterprise of Hollywood for the publication Puck. “The private baggage that was revealed on this trial was simply too icky for a studio to wish to cope with.”
The case captivated viewers who watched gavel-to-gavel tv protection, together with impassioned followers on social media who dissected the actors’ mannerisms, their wardrobe selections and their use of alcohol and medicines.
Each performers emerge with unclear prospects. Depp, a three-time finest actor Oscar nominee, was a bankable star till current years, with credit together with taking part in Capt. Jack Sparrow within the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Nonetheless, he misplaced that function and was changed in a “Unbelievable Beasts” spinoff.
Heard’s performing profession has been extra modest, and her solely two upcoming roles are in a small movie and the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel due out subsequent 12 months.
Eric Rose, a disaster administration and communications skilled in Los Angeles, known as the trial a “traditional murder-suicide” by way of injury to each careers.
“From a reputation-management perspective, there will be no winners,” he stated. “They’ve bloodied one another up. It turns into tougher now for studios to rent both actor since you’re doubtlessly alienating a big phase of your viewers who might not like the truth that you’ve retained both Johnny or Amber for a selected mission as a result of emotions are so robust now.”
Heard, who attended courtroom Wednesday and was stoic whereas the decision was learn, stated she’s heartbroken by what she described as a setback for ladies on the whole.
“I am much more disillusioned with what this verdict means for different girls. It is a setback. It units again the clock to a time when a girl who spoke up and spoke out could possibly be publicly humiliated. It units again the concept violence towards girls is to be taken critically,” she stated in a press release posted on her Twitter account.
Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft stated on CBS Mornings that her shopper plans to file an enchantment.
Depp, who was not in courtroom Wednesday, stated “the jury gave me my life again. I’m actually humbled.”
“I hope that my quest to have the reality be advised can have helped others, males or girls, who’ve discovered themselves in my state of affairs, and that these supporting them by no means quit,” he stated in a press release posted to Instagram.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Publish describing herself as “a public determine representing home abuse.” The essay by no means talked about his title.
The jury present in Depp’s favour on all three of his claims referring to particular statements within the piece.
In evaluating Heard’s counterclaims, jurors thought of three statements by a lawyer for Depp who known as her allegations a hoax. They discovered she was defamed by one among them, during which the lawyer claimed that she and mates “spilled just a little wine and roughed the place up, acquired their tales straight,” and known as police.
Whereas the case was ostensibly about libel, many of the testimony centered on whether or not Heard had been bodily and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard enumerated greater than a dozen alleged assaults, together with a struggle in Australia — the place Depp was taking pictures a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel — during which Depp misplaced the tip of his center finger and Heard stated she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle.
Depp stated he by no means hit Heard and that she was the abuser, although Heard’s attorneys highlighted years-old textual content messages Depp despatched apologizing to Heard for his behaviour in addition to profane texts he despatched to a buddy during which Depp stated he needed to kill Heard and defile her lifeless physique.
Brett Ward, a household legislation legal professional in New York, stated Depp made himself a extra plausible witness by admitting to drug and alcohol use and that he could possibly be a tough individual. However he stated Depp additionally ran the chance of constructing these moments extra memorable to the general public than his movie work.
“He says he did this for his kids. Having watched the entire trial, I do not suppose that he did any service to his kids by airing all of this soiled laundry,” Ward stated in an interview.
“Whether or not this was worthwhile for Johnny Depp, we’ll know in 5 years if he re-establishes himself as an A-list Hollywood actor. And if he does not? I feel he is made a horrible mistake as a result of most individuals aren’t going to recollect his relatively distinguished Hollywood profession. They are going to keep in mind this trial.”
Related Press writers Lindsey Bahr and John Carruci contributed to this report