Johnny Depp Didn't Get The Full $50M He Wanted From Amber Heard & Here's How It Worked Out

She got a small win out of it too.

Johnny Depp testifying. Right: Amber Heard in court.
Senior Editor

Johnny Depp testifying. Right: Amber Heard in court.

Johnny Depp may have won his high-profile defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard but he didn't quite get everything for which he asked.

The jury ruled on Wednesday that Heard lied and acted with malice in defaming Depp when she said she was a victim of "domestic abuse" in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.

It also largely ruled against her countersuit, although it did agree on one count about Depp's lawyer going over the top by describing her claims as a hoax. The jury agreed with one count of her defamation statements against ex-husband Depp.

In the end, the jury sided with Depp on all of his claims but did not give him the $50 million he was demanding for his troubles. Instead, it awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages (i.e. payback for damage caused) and $5 million in punitive damages (i.e. just to punish Heard).

However, the judge knocked that $5 million down to $350,000, which is the maximum allowed in Virginia.

Meanwhile, the jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages for the one defamation count with which it agreed and found to be true, which is well shy of the $100 million she asked for in her countersuit.

Ultimately, Heard will owe $8.35 million, although she can still appeal the details of the ruling within 30 days under Virginia law. There are also questions about how she'll pay for it.

Heard previously admitted during the trial that she did not follow through on a promise to donate half of her divorce settlement – about $3.5 million - to the ACLU, which was due to financial constraints, according to Heard.

The high-profile case, which involved claims of abuse on both sides, played out for six weeks and its entirety was broadcasted online.

The court heard various alleged events claimed by either party in the courtroom, from Heard putting poop in Depp's bed, Depp's severed finger being due to his ex-wife throwing an empty vodka bottle at him during a fight, and Depp sexually assaulting Heard with a bottle and often attacking her while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Heard was in the courtroom for Wednesday's verdict, but Depp was not.

"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words," Heard said in a statement after the verdict dropped. "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." She considers the verdict a setback for women publicly going against powerful men but also deplored the alleged overlook of her First Amendment right to free speech.

Depp fans applauded the verdict and cheered his lawyers when they emerged from court on Wednesday. He also celebrated by releasing a statement of his own.

"The jury gave me my life back," he said. He also mentioned being "at peace" and "truly humbled" by the outcome of the Depp v. Heard case.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence, refer to these resources available across Canada. If you need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. Support is available.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media, leading the Food & Drink and Lifestyle teams with a focus on entertainment interviews. He is based in Toronto, Ontario.