FAIRFAX, Va. – A jury’s discovering that each Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, had been defamed in a long-running public dispute capped a lurid six-week trial that still raised questions on whether or not the 2 actors can triumph over tarnished reputations.
The verdict passed down Wednesday in Virginia discovered that Depp were defamed by way of 3 statements in an op-ed written by way of Heard wherein she stated she used to be an abuse sufferer. The jury awarded him greater than $10 million. But jurors additionally concluded that Heard used to be defamed by way of a attorney for Depp who accused her of constructing an in depth hoax surrounding the abuse allegations. She used to be awarded $2 million.
Depp had was hoping the libel lawsuit would assist repair his recognition. However, felony and leisure mavens stated that each actors’ reputations had been broken by way of unsightly information about their transient marriage that got here out all the way through the televised trial watched by way of thousands and thousands.
“Both of them will work again, but I think it will be a while before a major studio will consider them ‘safe’ enough to bet on,” stated former leisure attorney Matthew Belloni, who writes concerning the trade of Hollywood for the e-newsletter Puck. “The personal baggage that was revealed in this trial was just too icky for a studio to want to deal with.”
The case captivated audience who watched gavel-to-gavel tv protection, together with impassioned fans on social media who dissected the actors’ mannerisms, their dresser possible choices and their use of alcohol and medication.
Both performers emerge with unclear possibilities for his or her careers. Depp, a three-time very best actor Oscar nominee, used to be a bankable famous person till contemporary years, with credit together with taking part in Capt. Jack Sparrow within the “Pirates of the Caribbean” motion pictures. However, he misplaced that function and used to be changed in a “Fantastic Beasts” derivative.
Heard’s performing profession has been extra modest, and her simplest two upcoming roles are in a small movie and the impending “Aquaman” sequel due out subsequent yr.
Eric Rose, a disaster control and communications professional in Los Angeles, known as the trial a “classic murder-suicide,” in relation to harm to each careers.
“From a reputation-management perspective, there can be no winners,” he stated. “They’ve bloodied each other up. It becomes more difficult now for studios to hire either actor because you’re potentially alienating a large segment of your audience who may not like the fact that you have retained either Johnny or Amber for a specific project because feelings are so strong now.”
Heard, who attended court docket Wednesday and used to be stoic whilst the decision used to be learn, stated she used to be heartbroken by way of what she described as a setback for ladies on the whole.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. 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,’’ she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
Depp, who was not in court Wednesday, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
“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 said in a statement posted to Instagram.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The essay never mentioned his name.
The jury found in Depp’s favor on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the piece.
In evaluating Heard’s counterclaims, jurors considered three statements by a lawyer for Depp who called her allegations a hoax. They found she was defamed by one of them, in which the lawyer claimed that she and friends “spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight,” and called police.
While the case was ostensibly about libel, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard enumerated more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia — where Depp was shooting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel — in which Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle.
Depp said he never hit Heard and that she was the abuser, though Heard’s attorneys highlighted years-old text messages Depp sent apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as profane texts he sent to a friend in which Depp said he wanted to kill Heard and defile her dead body.
Brett Ward, a family law attorney in New York, said Depp made himself a more believable witness by admitting to drug and alcohol use and that he could be a difficult person. But he said Depp also ran the risk of making those moments more memorable to the public than his film work.
“He says he did this for his children. Having watched the whole trial, I don’t think that he did any service to his children by airing all of this dirty laundry,” Ward said in an interview.
“But whether or not this used to be profitable for Johnny Depp, we can know in 5 years if he reestablishes himself as an A-list Hollywood actor. And if he doesn’t? I believe he’s made a horrible mistake as a result of most of the people aren’t going to bear in mind his quite prominent Hollywood profession. They’re going to bear in mind this trial.”
Associated Press writers Lindsey Bahr and John Carruci contributed to this record.
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