The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard court case has been one of the most-watched cases in recent memory, partly because the entire thing has been heavily televised and partly because both Depp and Heard are established names in Hollywood.
In 2018, Amber Heard wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about women's treatment in domestic abuse cases, saying "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."
In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for 50 million dollars for defamation over the op-ed in the Washington Post. The defamation suit said Heard "is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator," and Johnny Depp denied all allegations against him.
Defamation is the communication of a false statement about another that injures their reputation and usually constitutes a tort. In 1964, The Supreme Court rules that defamation suits brought by notable figures must not only prove the claims were false and caused them damage but that the person who made the defamatory statement did so with “actual malice.”
In April of 2022, the libel suit began, which saw Amber Heard countersuing Depp for 100 million dollars.
Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person's reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.
Because the case has been so popular throughout its six-week run, the general public has formed its own opinions of both Heard and Depp outside the official courtroom.
The Court of Public Opinion has been seen in favor of Johnny Depp with multiple Amber Heard memes and Tik Tok videos surfacing showing inconsistencies in her stories, body language, and behavior in the courtroom. Not everyone has been on team Depp, however, many Youtube videos and photos have been shared saying Depp has been immature throughout the case, often laughing at Heard and her witnesses as well as sassing Heards lawyers while on the stand.
Professionally, both Depp and Heard have felt the effects of the case. Depp was removed from his role in the latest Fantastic Beasts movie as well as any future Pirates of the Caribbean projects, while Heard was removed from her role in the upcoming Aquaman.
Late last week, Heard and Depp gave their closing arguments before handing the case over to the seven-person jury who, as part of their jury duty regulations, have not been on social media or watched any TV during the case, so have not been exposed to the Court of Public Opinion.
On the afternoon of June 1, the jury ultimately ruled:
- In Depp's defamation case against Heard, the jury awards Johnny Depp 15 million dollars in damages
- In Heard's libel case against Depp, the jury awards Amber Heard 2 million dollars in damages
Johnny Depp was not present in the courtroom when the verdict was given, but watched from the UK.