It's been six weeks of testimony in the libel case between Johnny Depp and Amber heard, but a brief deliberation by contrast.
On Wednesday, the jury announced that a verdict has been reached in the $50M lawsuit against Heard and her $100M counterclaim against Depp. The verdict will be read at 3PM today.
The jury was weighing a suit from Depp against heard for libel for $50M. Heard filed a countersuit for $100M.
After 13 hours of deliberation, the jury has reached a verdict, but the expected 3PM announcement was not what watchers were looking for.
The Washington Post shared, "Shortly before the verdict was set to be delivered in the Depp-Heard case, Judge Penney Azcarate dismissed the jurors, to the confusion of the courtroom. Azcarate said the jury did not properly fill out the compensatory damages section of the paperwork; no dollar amounts were listed. They are expected to return after a brief recess.
The announcement was made shortly after Azcarate reminded everyone inside the courtroom that she would 'not tolerate any outbursts whatsoever.'"
While television anchors and experts are taking their best guesses as to what this could hint at, we won't know until the jury reads their full verdict which should happen soon.
UPDATE 3:30PM: The verdict is officially in:
The jury has released their verdict:
- The judge explained that Mr. Depp's claim against Ms. Heard was found in his favor, explaining: as to this statement appearing in the online op-eds by Amber Heard, the jury finds that Depp has proven defamation. In addition, they found that the statements against Depp were false and were designed and intended to cause harm, and enacted with malice. Every charge in Depp's lawsuit was found in his favor. Depp is awarded $10M in compensatory damages in his suit against his former wife, and $5M in punitive damages.
- Heard has been awarded $2M in her countersuit.
The Trial That Captivated the World
Although it wasn't the first time Depp and Heard have battled it out in court over this same issue, this was the first time the world was in a position to see their relationship under a microscope.
What came to light during the trial was shocking by any metric - horrifying incidents of domestic abuse, and a he-said, she-said back and forth about who was to blame for the aggression between the former married couple.
As time passed and more evidenced was released, it became the prevailing opinion on social media that Heard was engaging in systematic abuse of Depp and Depp was engaging in reactive abuse in exchange. The toxic cycle elevated and continued until the pair called it quits after less than two years of marriage.
CELEB shared the root of their relationship woes; "It all started (well, the public legal scrap) in 2016. Heard filed for divorce from Depp in early 2016. Their marriage lasted 15 months and Heard claimed 'irreconcilable differences.'
As part of the finalization of their divorce which was granted in January 2017, Depp paid Heard $7 million, which she donated to charity. With no children and less than a year and a half of marriage, that should have been the end of it. Not even close, though.
In 2018, Heard published an op-ed with the Washington Post. In it, she claimed to be the victim of domestic violence and that speaking out about her experiences caused Hollywood and the public to blacklist and punish her. While Heard didn't directly mention Depp's name, she was less than a year from the end of what she admits was a contentious marriage that ended abruptly in divorce.
It was to this op-ed that Depp took exception and filed a $50M lawsuit for defamation against Heard. ET writes, 'In the suit, Depp claims that Heard's allegations of abuse against him were an 'elaborate hoax.' Depp alleges the op-ed caused damage to his career. He says he was dropped from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise four days after the op-ed was published.
Though Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, the suit claims that the piece 'depends on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.' While Depp originally filed in 2019, the subsequent coronavirus pandemic pushed the case back significantly.'
The trial has been a bitter back and forth between the pair to try to prove the other a villain. In this situation it seems less like there's two bad guys, and more like there's a bad guy - and a liar. But who's telling the truth? Fans of Depp will say that she put him through horrifying abuse, and we do know that she may or may not have severed his fingertip in an altercation.
But fans of Heard claim that Depp put her through emotional, psychological and even sexual abuse.
As for trial witnesses, both friends and family have testified in defense of Depp and claim he has never been abusive - but do admit that he struggled with substance abuse, and one friend admitted that he received disturbing texts from Depp in 2016 that he hoped his wife's 'rotting corpse is decomposing in the f--king trunk of a Honda Civic,' per ET.
A former assistant for Heard claims that her former boss was verbally abusive towards employees, and that she never witnessed any abuse from Depp towards Heard. Kate James, the former assistant, had a lot to say, per ET, "James claims that Heard was a 'dramatic' person in general, and had seen the actress fly into a 'blind rage.' In contrast, she described Depp, upon her first meeting him, as 'shy, peaceful, quiet' and said he behaved like 'a total Southern Gentleman.'
James further alleged that Heard once spit in her face while discussing the possibility of a raise, and claimed that Heard would have something akin to 'manic episodes,' allegedly calling James and texting incoherently at odd hours of the night. James claimed that Heard treated her own sister 'like a dog that you kicked,' and said she was once told by Heard's mother that she was 'terrified' of her daughter.'"
Whether you believe Heard or Depp or aren't sure who's to blame for the violence between them, the abuse was blatant and shocking - and reminds the world that sometimes behind closed doors celebrities are just as bad as the worst of us.
The Country has Watched in Horrified Fascination
While the case itself has been shocking, the reaction to it by the world at large may be the most interesting part of the whole situation.
Domestic violence against men is believed to be significantly under-reported, and it all strikes to the heart of one thing Heard told Depp on a recording; that he should go ahead and report her, because no one would believe or care that a woman was abusing a man.
The case has highlighted the inequities between victims of domestic violence and the court system that's supposed to provide remedy. Instead of Depp facing her as his abuser, he's facing her as someone who ruined his career.
But the case has given voice to victims and has helped the system hold up a mirror to where it falls short; although it wasn't intended to be a system-changing trial, it may be just that.
Although Depp was not awarded the full $50M he sued for, it's clear that the landscape of domestic violence and the way secrets are swept under the rug may be changing forever, for the better with any luck.