Actor Amber Heard announced on Monday that she had made the “very difficult” decision to settle the multimillion dollar defamation case brought by her former husband Johnny Depp.
Heard, in a post on Instagram, did not reveal the terms of the settlement, which comes after a Virginia jury ordered her to pay $10 million to the Pirates of the Caribbean star.
The entertainment website TMZ, citing sources with direct knowledge, said the settlement calls for the 36-year-old Heard to pay $1 million to her 59-year-old former husband.
Heard, who had a starring role in the movie Aquaman, said she was dropping her appeal of the damages awarded by the jury and settling the case because she “simply cannot go through” another trial.
“After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case,” she said.
“I make this decision having lost faith in the American legal system, where my unprotected testimony served as entertainment and social media fodder,” she said.
“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,” she said.
“I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession.” The jury found Depp and Heard liable for defamation — but sided more strongly with the Pirates star following an intense six-week trial riding on bitterly contested allegations of domestic abuse.
The jury awarded $10.35 million in damages to Depp. Heard, who had countersued, was awarded $2 million.
‘Defended my truth’
Depp sued Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The Texas-born Heard did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and sought $50 million in damages.
Heard countersued for $100 million, saying she was defamed by statements made by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, who told the Daily Mail her abuse claims were a “hoax.” The case, live streamed to millions, featured lurid and intimate details about the Hollywood celebrities’ private lives. Heard’s lawyers said following the trial that the actress did not have the resources to pay Depp the $10 million in damages.
In her Instagram post, Heard said she “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 revictimised when they come forward,” she said. “I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot relive.
“Even if my US appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a retrial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence again,” she said. “I simply cannot go through that for a third time.”
Originally published in Dawn, December 20th, 2022