Amber Heard finally settles defamation case against Johnny Depp: ‘I will not be dissuaded from speaking the truth’

‘Aquaman’ star shared a lengthy statement from her Instagram account

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 19 December 2022 15:35 GMT
Amber Heard was vilified for not being the ‘perfect victim’, author Louise O'Neill claims
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Amber Heard has announced that she has settled her defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp.

The Aquaman star, 36, shared a post to her Instagram page calling the decision to settle with Depp “very difficult”, and something that had required “a great deal of deliberation”.

“After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia,” she wrote.

“It’s important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimised when they come forward.”

Heard said that in settling, she finally had an opportunity to “emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to.”

“I have made no admission,” she continued. “This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”

Heard’s settlement with Depp comes after the months-long televised trial watched by viewers around the world.

Depp won his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Heard after a jury ruled that her 2018 Washington Post article titled “I spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” was defamatory.

The article did not mention Depp by name, but his lawyers argued that it falsely implied he physically and sexually abused Heard during their relationship.

Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10m (£8.2m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4.1m) in punitive damages. The latter sum was reduced to $350,000 (£287,000) to comply with a statutory cap.

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Depp and Heard during the trial

Following the verdict, Depp said in a statement that he was “humbled” that the jury had “given me my life back”.

Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in damages in a counterclaim against Depp after comments made by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly referred to her abuse claims as a “hoax,” were also found to be defamatory.

She filed a notice of appeal a month after the initial verdict, with her attorney citing “errors” made by the court. However, her latest statement appears to confirm she has withdrawn the appeal.

In her statement, she said she had “lost faith” in the American legal system, contrasting the US trial against the one Depp lost in the UK over an article in The Sun that called him a “wife beater”.

“When I took before a judge in the UK, I was vindicated by a robust, impartial and fair system, where I was protected from having to give the worst moments of my testimony in front of the worlds media, and where the court found that I was subjected to domestic and sexual violence,” Heard said.

“In the US, however, I exhausted almost all my resources in advance of and during a trial in which I was subject to a courtroom in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded and in which popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process.

“In the interim I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot re-live. Even if my US appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a re-trial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence age. I simply cannot go through that for a third time.”

She later added: “In settling this case I am also choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed, and in which I know I can effect change.

“I will not be threatened, disheartened or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have.”

The Independent has contacted Depp’s legal representatives for comment.

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