The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard legal saga might not be over just yet.
The Aquaman actress plans to appeal the verdict in her ex-husband’s defamation suit against her, EW has learned. The decision comes after a jury in Fairfax County, Va., found on Wednesday that she intentionally and maliciously defamed Depp when she wrote her 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post about her experiences as a domestic abuse survivor.
Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, substantially less than the $50 million he asked for in his lawsuit. Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to Virginia’s statutory cap of $350,000.
The jury found partly in Heard’s favor in regard to her defamation countersuit, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages. Still, Heard said her disappointment “beyond words” in a statement after the verdict.
“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,” she said, adding, “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.”
Heard declared the verdict a “setback” that would turn back the clock “to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
She went on to say she believes Depp’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury “to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive” when presented during Depp’s libel lawsuit against The Sun in 2020. (Depp sued the outlet for referring to him as a “wife-beater” in a news post, but a judge ruled that the article was “substantially true” and that “the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.” Depp tried to overturn the ruling but was unsuccessful.)
“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,” Heard concluded her statement Wednesday.
Depp released his own statement after the verdict, saying he was “truly humbled” by the support he’s received. “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” he said. “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.”