Johnny Depp, Amber Heard found liable for defamation but who won?


The defamation trial involving Johnny Depp, 58, and Amber Heard, 36, in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States ended on June 1, 2022. A jury of seven found both actors liable for defamation in their lawsuits against each other but Depp was awarded significantly more damages.

Depp and Heard met on the set of “The Rum Diary” in 2011, started dating in 2012 and got married at their home in Los Angeles, California, USA in February 2015. She filed for divorce from him in May 2016 and the divorce was finalized in January 2017.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp

In December 2018, Heard wrote an op-ed published by The Washington Post, in which she gave details of her alleged experiences with domestic violence without naming Depp. In March 2019, he filed a lawsuit for defamation against her over the op-ed.

In August 2020, Heard countersued Depp and the defamation trial in Fairfax County involving the two started on April 11, 2022. She was represented by Elaine Bredehoft, Adam Nadelhaft and Ben Rottenborn while Depp was represented by Camille Vasquez, Benjamin “Ben” Chew and Rebecca MacDowell Lecaroz.


Depp alleged three counts of defamation against Heard, claiming $50 million in damages. The jury awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million dollars in punitive damages. 

Penney S. Azcarte was the judge of the trial. She reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 because punitive damages in the state of Virginia are capped at that amount.

Heard’s counterclaim against Depp sought $100 million. The jury awarded the “Aquaman” star $2 million in compensatory damages and no money for punitive damages.


Released on December 21, 2018, “Aquaman” starred Heard as Mera with Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry / Aquaman, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus, Patrick Wilson as King Orm / Ocean Master and Willem Dafoe as Vulko. It was directed by James Wan, who also directed the sequel “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom“.

Heard reprises her role as Mera in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom”, which will be released on March 17, 2023. Momoa, Kidman, Lundgren and Wilson are reprising their respective roles, as well.


Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films in 2003, in 2006, in 2007, in 2011 and in 2017. In 2018, he played Gellert Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald“, Richard Brown in “The Professor” and Russell Poole in “City of Lies“, voiced the title character in “Sherlock Gnomes” and made a cameo in “London Fields“.

In 2020, Depp played Colonel Joll in “Waiting for the Barbarians“. In 2020, he played W. Eugene Smith in “Minamata“, which he also produced.

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