Actress Amber Heard cannot pay her ex-husband Johnny Depp more than $10 million in damages, her lawyer said Thursday after a US jury sided with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in a bitter defamation lawsuit.
The high-profile lawsuit ended Wednesday when a seven-member jury found that Depp and Heard had defamed each other but weighed much more heavily on Depp.
After a six-week trial of domestic violence claims and counterclaims, the jury awarded him $10.35 million in damages, as opposed to $2 million awarded to Heard.
Asked on NBC’s TODAY show if Heard will be able to pay, her attorney Elaine Bredehoft said, “Oh no, absolutely not.”
She added that the “Aquaman” star wants to appeal the verdict and “has excellent reasons for it”.
Depp, 58, who lost a libel suit against British tabloid The Sun in London in 2020 for calling him a “wife beater”, celebrated the split verdict in the case as a victory, while Heard said she “heart– broken.”
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 who represents domestic violence.”
Texas-born Heard didn’t name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for suggesting he was a domestic abuser and demanded $50 million in damages.
Heard, 36, filed a counterclaim for $100 million, saying she was defamed by statements by Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, who told the Daily Mail that her abuse allegations were a “hoax.”
Bredehoft said Depp’s legal team worked to “demonize” Heard and suppress crucial evidence in the trial, preventing the jurors from examining the evidence of Depp’s alleged abuse.
“A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it confused the jury,” she said.
“We had a huge amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case, which was in the British case,” she said. “In the British case, when it came in, Amber won, Mr Depp lost.”
The lawyer said the ruling bodes ill for the MeToo movement and will discourage women from reporting sexual harassment and abuse.
“It’s terrible news,” Bredehoft said. “It’s a big setback, because that’s exactly what it means.
“Unless you pull out your phone and film your spouse or significant other hitting you, you’re basically not believed.”
Bredehoft was asked by TODAY about Heard’s immediate response to the verdict in the trial, which took place in Fairfax County Circuit Court near the US capital.
“One of the first things she said was, ‘I’m so sorry for all those women out there,'” she said. “This is a setback for all women in and out of the courtroom, and she feels the burden of it.”
In a statement, Heard said: “The disappointment I feel today is indescribable.
“I’m devastated that the mountain of evidence still wasn’t enough to withstand my ex-husband’s disproportionate power, influence and rule,” she said.
Depp, for his part, welcomed the verdict, saying, “The jury has given me my life back.”
“The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun,” Depp said in a statement.
Bredehoft said social media may have had an impact on the case, although jurors were told not to look into it.
“There’s no way they couldn’t have been affected by it, and it was terrible,” she said. “It was really, really skewed.”
Heard’s lawyer also said she was against the trial being televised.
“I was against cameras in court, and I recorded that and objected to it because of the sensitive nature of this, but it turned it into a zoo,” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)