Amber Heard: reaction statement to Johnny Depp trial verdict, will she appeal, and why did she get $2 million?

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A petition to remove Amber Heard from the upcoming Aquaman 2 film has reached over 4.4 million signatures

The high-profile libel trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard ended on 1 June with the jury’s verdict coming out in favour of Depp.

Over several weeks the court case heard testimony from celebrities, including Kate Moss and Vanessa Paradis, as aspects of the actors’ private lives were pored over - including private text messages and details of mental health conditions.

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Amber Heard was the only one of the pair to turn up to the verdict hearing, as Johnny Depp - who was represented by his lawyer Camille Vasquez - has been playing at Jeff Beck gigs in the UK.

Since the verdict, a petition to remove her from the upcoming Aquaman sequel has hit three million signatures.

Amber Heard had a partial victory in her counterclaim against ex-husband Johnny Depp (image: AFP/Getty Images)Amber Heard had a partial victory in her counterclaim against ex-husband Johnny Depp (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Amber Heard had a partial victory in her counterclaim against ex-husband Johnny Depp (image: AFP/Getty Images) | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

But how did Amber Heard react when she heard the result of the trial, what will happen next, and why was she awarded $2 million?

Here’s what you need to know.

What was the result of the Johnny Depp Amber Heard trial?

Johnny Depp secured a substantive victory in his lawsuit against his ex-wife.

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Mr Depp sued Ms Heard for $50 million dollars over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post, titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The article does not mention Johnny Depp by name, but his lawyers successfully argued that it falsely implied their client physically and sexually abused Ms Heard while they were together.

Johnny Depp successfully sued ex-wife Amber Heard (image: Getty Images)Johnny Depp successfully sued ex-wife Amber Heard (image: Getty Images)
Johnny Depp successfully sued ex-wife Amber Heard (image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The actor won all three of his claims and was awarded $15 million in damages (reduced to $10.4 million under Virginia state law).

Ms Heard also got $2 million in damages for winning one out of three aspects of a $100 million counterclaim she made (more on that below).

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How did Amber Heard react to Johnny Depp verdict?

As the jury’s verdict was read out, Amber Heard sat with a neutral expression and her eyes cast down.

When the judge left the courtroom, she appeared to stand shell-shocked for a second before commiserating with her lawyers, as Johnny Depp’s legal team celebrated.

After leaving the Fairfax, Virginia courthouse, she issued a statement via her lawyer.

Amber Heard said the verdict would set women’s rights back (image: AFP/Getty Images)Amber Heard said the verdict would set women’s rights back (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Amber Heard said the verdict would set women’s rights back (image: AFP/Getty Images) | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ms Heard said: “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words.

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“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.

“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.”

Ms Heard said the verdict “sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated”.

She added that Mr Depp’s attorneys had succeeded in getting jury members to “overlook” freedom of speech.

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had to face each other in the courtroom multiple times throughout the trial (image: AFP/Getty Images)Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had to face each other in the courtroom multiple times throughout the trial (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had to face each other in the courtroom multiple times throughout the trial (image: AFP/Getty Images) | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“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,” she said.

Why did Amber Heard get $2 million?

While Johnny Depp won the case and secured $15 million in damages (reduced to $10.4 million due to Virginia state laws capping punitive damages), Amber Heard also walked away with $2 million.

She received this amount of money as a result of a counterclaim against her ex-husband.

This libel action centred around comments made by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly referred to Ms Heard’s abuse claims as a “hoax”.

The jury ruled this to be defamatory.

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Fans of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard gathered outside the Virginia courthouse the trial took place in (image: Getty Images)Fans of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard gathered outside the Virginia courthouse the trial took place in (image: Getty Images)
Fans of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard gathered outside the Virginia courthouse the trial took place in (image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Can Amber Heard appeal verdict?

Amber Heard is set to appeal the verdict, according to comments by her spokesperson Alafair Hall that were reported in the New York Times.

There is also speculation that the initial verdict could be just one part of an extended legal process.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight on Wednesday (1 June), Lisa Bloom - a US lawyer who represented women whose sexual harassment claims resulted in the dismissal of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly - said she thinks the Heard-Depp case will be decided at the appeal stage.

“I want to emphasise that this is not the end because most defamation cases are really decided on appeal,” she said.

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“I have handled a number of defamation cases, including representing Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby. We had to argue two appeals in that case, both of which were successful.

“I think this is an inconsistent verdict. How can it be that Amber Heard was defamed when Johnny Depp’s lawyer said that her allegations were a hoax, and yet Johnny Depp was also defamed when she said she was representative of domestic violence?

“She also got hit with the defamation verdict for the headline in the article, which she did not write. I think this is going to go up on appeal. I think within a year or two, we’re going to have a more definitive answer and outcome in this case.”

What is Amber Heard’s net worth?

If the trial verdict is upheld at the appeals stage, it could prove ruinous to Amber Heard.

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Whilst Johnny Depp is worth a reported $150 million (£119.5 million), Amber Heard is understood to have a net worth of $8 million - although there are some reports the figure could be much lower.

Given Mr Depp has been awarded $8.4 million (£6.7 million) in net damages, Ms Heard could be set for financial difficulties as a result of the trial.

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