Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard: Why Did Amber Heard Lose The Case?

Are you wondering why Amber Heard lost the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial?

Well here is everything you need to know.


Background Of The Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard Trial

johnny depp and amber heard

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard first met each other as co-stars on the set of a film back in 2009. Depp and Heard first met while filming The Rum Diary in October, 2009 where they were cast as each other’s love interest in the film adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel.

A few years after their first encounter, the two finally started dating in 2012 after Depp and his longtime partner, Vanessa Paradis called it quits.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard got married on February 5, 2015 at Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.


Divorce And Legal Battles Ensue

johnny depp in court

The marriage between Jonny Depp and Amber Heard started off on a high end but suffered from reports of abuse and legal trouble. Fifteen (15) months into the marriage, Amber Heard filed for divorce on the May 23, 2016 citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ in the divorce petition.

Heard went on to request for a temporary restraining order, 4 days after filing for divorce and the same was granted on the grounds of domestic violence and said it was usually while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Instantly Depp through his lawyer issued out a statement that Amber was deceitful and ‘attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse’.

In August 2016, the pair eventually decided and settled for an out-of-court settlement in which Heard withdrew her request for the temporary restraining order and the two issued out a joint statement in which they suggested that the contradictory statements made by each of them about each other were false, in that ‘there was never an intent of physical or emotional harm and neither party has made false accusations for financial gains’ the statement said.

Heard received 7 million dollars from the settlement in which she mentioned that she would donate her settlement to charity, that is to the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and later went on to be appointed as the ambassador for women’s rights under the ACLU.

It is from that ambassadorship that she issued out a statement through an op-ed in the Washington Post.

Fast moving forward, in December 2018, Amber issued out an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she accused her ex-husband, ‘Johnny Depp’ without explicitly naming him, of ‘intimate partner violence’.


The op-ed headline went stated ‘spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath’, she continued to write that she survived domestic violence without naming or mentioning Johnny Depp in the op-ed by name.

In March 2019, Depp filed a defamation lawsuit in which he was seeking $50 Million. Later on in January 2021, Heard countersued for $100 Million in a case that might proceed later on this year, as the just concluded trial was Depp’s suit against Heard.


Depp’s first trial against the sun and how it arose.

johnny depp vs amber heard

In 2018, the British tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’ referred to actor Johnny Depp as a ‘wife beater’ a statement that led to Johnny Depp filing a libel suit against the tabloid in the British Courts in London in 2020…here the burden of proof was upon the Sun to prove on the balance of probabilities that its statement against Johnny Depp was ‘true’.

The newspaper went on to call Amber Heard in the proceedings in which she accounted to 14 instances where she was abused by Johnny Depp.

Depp went on and lost the case in London.


Is this a defamation suit or a mere DARVO incident?

DARVO refers to a reaction, perpetrators of wrong doing, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.”

The perpetrator or offender may deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim — or the whistle blower — into an alleged offender.

This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility and blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.


Understanding Defamation

Defamation is the act of harming the reputation of another by making a statement to a third person.

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The wrong of defamations consists in the publication of a false and defamatory statement concerning another person without lawful justification. (Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Ed. pages 479 and 480) Defamation can be in many forms.

It can be in words written or spoken or it can be through pictures or cartoons among others.

For a defamation suit to stand, the following must be proven by the plaintiff against the defendant;

  1. The defendant made a statement about the plaintiff to
  2. The statement was injurious to the plaintiff’s reputation in the eyes of the right- thinking members of
  3. The statement was
  4. If the plaintiff is a public figure, or was involved in some newsworthy event or some other event that engaged the public interest, then the defendant must have made the false statement intentionally or with reckless disregard of the plaintiff’s
  5. There are no applicable privileges or defences.


The reknown defences to defamation are;

  1. Truth: when the allegedly defamatory statement is at least substantially
  2. Opinion: applies when the defamatory statement can neither be proven nor disproven.
  3. Privilege: some forms of speech, like topics of public interest, are protected as a legal
  4. Consent: if the plaintiff consents to the publication of the statement in question, they cannot claim
  5. Statute of limitations: a lawsuit must be filed within a specified time after the incident which gave rise to the


Why Amber Heard lost the case?

This being a defamation suit a lot had to be proven as to whether the op-ed heard issued out was either defamatory of not. Amber Heard’s lawyers argued that Depp indeed abused

Heard and that even if such abuse did not take place her op-ed was completely not defamatory and libelous as it never made mention of Depp’s name and neither did it make any direct address to her allegation against Depp.

amber heard

On the other hand, Depp’s lawyers argued that Amber Heard was the abuser in the relationship and that her allegations towards Depp were untrue and ruined his life, in that they asked jurors to ‘give him his life back’. You either believe all of it or none of it.

Either Depp assaulted Heard with a bottle in Australia, or Heard got up on that stand, in front of all of you, and made up that horrific tale of abuse. More so, in a recording presented by Depp’s lawyers Heard is over heard saying to Depp that ‘You can tell people it was a fair fight, and then see what the jury and judge thinks,” Heard says. “Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, ‘Johnny Depp, I, a man, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence, it’s a fair fight,’ and see how many people believe or side with you’.

The jury was then directed by judge Penny Arcarate to determine whether defamation with actual malice had actually taken place/occurred.

For actual malice to be proven/determined, Heard must have written the op-ed with knowledge that her allegations were false or they were made with utter reckless disregard for whether they were false or not.


The Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard Trial Verdict: (Who won the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard lawsuit?)

Enough of the legalize and back to the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard suit, the jury unanimously found that Heard could not substantiate her allegations against Depp and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published her essay (op-ed).

The jury determined that Heard acted with malice when writing her op-ed.

The jury went on to award Johnny Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit.

As I had earlier on stated, Heard had countersued for $100 million and said she was only ever violent with Depp in self-defense of her young sister.

Here is a video where the jury passed their verdict.

Heard’s suit centered around three statements made by Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman in 2020 to the Daily mail, in which he described Heard’s allegations of abuse as a hoax.

The jury found that Depp, through Waldamn, defamed Heard on one count and went ahead and awarded $2 million in compensatory damages, but $0 in punitive damages.

The jury determined that Heard acted with malice when writing her op-ed. The jury awarded Depp with both compensatory and punitive damages as earlier on stated.

The Fairfax County Circuit Court judge Penny Azcarate reduced the punitive damages the jury awarded to Depp to $350,000, which is the state’s statutory cap or legal limit, making his total damages $10.4 million.

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