Amber Heard has settled the defamation lawsuit brought forth by ex-husband Johnny Depp, and will no longer appeal the results of a June 2022 verdict that awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages.
“After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia,” Heard wrote in a statement posted to social media on Monday, December 19th.
Heard said her decision to settle was not an acknowledgement of guilt. “I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed,” she wrote. “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.” Instead, Heart said, “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.”
In her lengthy statement, Heard said she “lost faith in the American legal system, where my unprotected testimony served as entertainment and social media fodder.” Whereas the results of a defamation case in the UK went in her favor, in the US case “I was subject to a courtroom in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded and in which popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process,” she claimed. “In the interim I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot re-live. Even if my US appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a re-trial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence age. I simply cannot go through that for a third time.”
“In settling this case I’m also choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed and in which I know I can effect change,” Heard added. “I will not be threatened, disheartened, or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have.”
Update: Heard will pay Depp $1 million under terms of the settlement. In a statement released through his attorneys, Depp said he would donated the money to charity.
Depp originally filed a $50 million lawsuit against Heard in response to her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post titled “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” The Pirates of the Caribbean actor claimed that the article sullied his reputation, even though Heard never mentioned him explicitly by name. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million, claiming that Depp’s lawyer had defamed her by telling the press that her allegations were false.
In June, after six grueling weeks of testimony, cross-examination, and scandalous allegations levied by both sides, a jury found Heard guilty of three counts of defamation against Depp. (The jury separately found that Depp, through his attorney Adam Waldman, defamed Heard in one of three counts in her countersuit, and awarded her $2 million in damages.)
In a post-trial interview with NBC News, Heard said she still had “love” for Depp, but “stood by every word of my testimony.” Meanwhile, a juror in the case said Heard’s allegations of domestic violence “didn’t add up.”
For his part, Depp thanked the jury for giving “me my life back.” In a statement released in the immediate aftermath of the trial, he wrote, “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. ”