Amber Heard settles defamation case with Johnny Depp

Heard had previously been ordered to pay more than $10m in damages to Depp, while he was ordered to pay her $2m

Amber Heard has agreed to a legal settlement with her ex-husband and fellow actor Johnny Depp, who sued her for defamation after she suggested he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.

Heard, 36, had previously been ordered pay more than $10m in damages to Depp, 56. Depp, meanwhile, was ordered to pay Heard $2m after she filed a countersuit accusing him of defamation after his lawyer, Adam Waldman, called her abuse claims a “hoax”.

Heard initially appealed the ruling ordering her to pay but has since dropped that effort. The terms of the settlement she announced on Monday puts an end to any further litigation between Heard and Depp over their claims against each other for now, but the terms of the agreement were not immediately publicized.

In an Instagram post that she shared on Monday morning, Heard wrote that agreeing to the settlement was “a very difficult decision”.

“It’s important for me to say that I never chose this,” the post read. “I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward.

“Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to. I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”

News of the settlement comes after a public, months-long legal battle saw Heard and Depp fight for support in the court of public opinion as well as litigate their difference in an actual courtroom in Fairfax county, Virginia. On social media, support for Depp was overwhelming, as evidenced by the wide sharing of videos and posts aiming to impugn – if not outright discredit – Heard’s accounts of domestic violence at the hands of Depp.

Separately, in the UK, Depp lost a libel case in 2020 against the Sun after he sued the newspaper for publishing an article calling him a “wife beater”.

The judge in that case found the article was “substantially true”, and some observers thought that initial victory for Heard might carry over into the case she and Depp waged each other in the US. But the split ruling that followed the trial of the case in Virginia was substantially more burdensome economically for Heard.

Depp and Heard were married for two years from 2015 to 2017.


Erum Salam

The GuardianTramp

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