07/06/2022
5/5

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Actor Johnny Depp points as he exits Fairfax County Courthouse after a defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia, US, May 27, 2022. Photo: Evelyn Hochstein/Reuters

2/5

Written by Lisa Richwin

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The jury hearing the lawsuits brought by Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will meet on Tuesday to consider whether any of the actors have been defamed and deserve millions of dollars in damages.

Depp, the 58-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, is suing his ex-wife, Heard, in Virginia for $50 million, arguing that she insulted him when she described himself in a newspaper opinion as a “public figure, a local . . . representing violence.”

Heard, 36, is suing for $100 million and said Depp slandered it when his lawyer called it a “hoax.”

The seven-member jury deliberated for about two hours on Friday before adjourning the hearing for the weekend on American Memorial Day.

Depp denied hitting Heard or any other woman and said it was she who became violent in their relationship.

At the center of the lawsuit is Heard’s December 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post, in which she testified about domestic violence. The article did not mention Depp by name, but his attorney told the jury that Heard was clearly referring to him.

Heard’s lawyers argued that she was telling the truth and that what she said would be treated as freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Depp and Heard met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011 and married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later.

During the six-week trial, jurors heard footage of the couple’s quarrel and viewed graphic images of Depp’s bloodied finger. He said the tip of the finger was cut off when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him in 2015.

Heard denied hurting Depp’s fingers and said Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle of alcohol that night. She said she only hit him to defend herself or her sister.

The testimony was widely broadcast live on social media, attracting a large audience for details of the couple’s turbulent relationship.

Depp, who was one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything”. The Pirates movie was shelved, and Depp replaced in the Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts movie series.

Depp lost a defamation case less than two years ago against the British tabloid The Sun, which described him as a “wife beater”. A London High Court judge ruled that he repeatedly attacked Heard.

Depp’s lawyers filed the US case in Fairfax County, Virginia, because that’s where the Washington Post is printed. The newspaper is not a defendant.