Why Johnny Depp Wasn't in Virginia Court When Amber Heard Verdict Was Read

·3 min read
Why Johnny Depp Wasn't in Virginia Court When Amber Heard Verdict Was Read

Content warning: This story discusses abuse.

While the world watched as the verdict for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's defamation case was read, some couldn't help but notice that the Pirates of the Caribbean alum was not in the courtroom.

So where was he? A source close to Depp told E! News that, due to work commitments made before the trial, the actor would not be physically present for the June 1 verdict in Virginia. He was, however, watching from the U.K., added the insider. After all, he did have performances in England over the past few days.

Heard, on the other hand, was present, which "shows where [her] priorities are," a spokesperson for the actress told E! News. "Johnny Depp plays guitar in the U.K. while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour."

Ultimately, the jury ruled that Heard was liable for defaming Depp, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate later reduced punitive damages to $350,000, which is the state's legal limit.

The jury also found that Heard was defamed when Depp's lawyer called her allegations of abuse a hoax, and she was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

Viral Moments From Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Defamation Trial

After the verdict was read, Depp was quick to celebrate his victory. "From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome," he said in part of a statement. "Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard
Getty Images

Meanwhile, Heard expressed her disappointment. "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," the Aquaman actress said in part of a statement. "I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated."

Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard in 2019 over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote she was a "public figure representing domestic abuse." Although Depp was never mentioned by name, he alleged the piece damaged his career. Heard filed a countersuit against her ex Depp in 2020 in which she alleged he defamed her when his then-lawyer Adam Waldman called her allegations of abuse a "hoax" and that the statement affected her career.

The verdict comes less than two years after Depp lost a libel case against the U.K. newspaper The Sun, which referred to him as a "wife beater" in a headline. "Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel," the judge said at the time, "the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true."

For a recap of Depp and Heard's case, click here.

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