Johnny Depp Reacts to Winning Defamation Case Against Amber Heard
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Johnny Depp is speaking out after winning his defamation trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. In a statement shared by the 58-year-old actor on Instagram, Depp said he feels "truly humbled" not only by the verdict, but to have his life back, six years after their contentious 2016 divorce.
"Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed," Depp began. "All in the blink of an eye."
He continued, "False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career."
"And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled," Depp added.
While the allegations made against him by the op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post impacted both Depp's career and life, he said he feels at peace knowing that he was able to speak and reveal his truth -- not just for himself, but for his children, Lily-Rose, 23 and Jack, 20.
"My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought," he shared.
Adding, "From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. 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."
Depp went on to thank his fans for their love and support, and also said that he hopes his quest for truth will help other men and women who have found themselves in a similar situation, do the same.
"I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. 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," he stressed. "I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media."
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor also thanked the judge, jurors, and court staff for their work and his legal team for their tireless effort in helping him to "share the truth."
"I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth," he noted.
Depp concluded the lengthy statement by promising that the best is yet to come, and signed off with the Latin phrase, "veritas numquam perit," which translates to "truth never perishes."
After deliberating for around 14 hours across three days, the jury decided Wednesday, in unanimous fashion, that Depp was defamed by Heard and that she "acted with actual malice," bringing the six-week-long case to an end.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Depp's punitive damages, however, were reduced by Judge Penney Azcarate to $350,000 in accordance with Virginia's statutory cap.
Heard did win one of her three counterclaims, and was awarded $2 million by the jury in compensatory damages but nothing in punitive damages.
Depp's lawyers, Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew, also shared statements following the verdict, with Vasquez saying that the verdict confirmed that the claims against Depp were not only defamatory but "unsupportive" of any evidence.
"This verdict has confirmed what we have said from the beginning, that the claims against Johnny are defamatory and unsupportive of any evidence," Vasquez said. "We are grateful, so grateful, to the jury for their careful deliberation, to the judge, to the court staff, who have devoted an enormous amount of time and resources to this case."
For his part, Chew said he and his legal team were honored to assist Depp in making sure his case was considered fairly.
"Our judicial system is predicated upon each and everyone having his or her case heard and we were honored, truly honored, to assist Mr. Depp in ensuring that his case was fairly considered throughout the trial," Chew added. "We are also most pleased the trial has resonated for so many people in the public who value truth and justice. Now that the jury has reached its conclusive verdict, it's time to turn the page and look to the future."
Heard and her legal team were in attendance when the verdict was read but Depp was not present -- he was watching from the United Kingdom though, where he was previously scheduled for several work commitments.
Heard released a statement following the verdict saying, "The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated."
She added, "It sets back the idea that violence against women is to 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 UK. 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."
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