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Maybe the biggest piece of celebrity news so far in 2022 has been the controversial trial between actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. The six-week trial came to a close on June 1. Didn’t get a chance to watch the end? Read on below for the basics of everything that happened in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial.
What was the trial about?
In this highly publicized trial, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation, based on a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, where she described herself as a survivor of domestic violence. Depp was initially seeking $50 million in damages to make up for a large amount of income that he allegedly lost due to the defamation.
On the other hand, Heard countersued Depp for defamation as well, seeking $100 million in compensatory damages for statements Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman made in 2020, calling her allegations of abuse a “hoax.”
Depp’s side of the story
Following the release of Heard’s op-ed, Depp was removed from multiple films he had been working on, including the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts franchises. Forensic accountant Mike Spindler testified at trial after analyzing Depp’s finances and said that he had found that Depp lost an estimated $40 million in income as a result of the defamation.
Depp argued that not only had he never been physically abusive to Heard but that she had abused him. He testified about multiple instances of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, some of which made the trial somewhat graphic.
Heard’s case included testimony from a forensic psychologist named Dawn Hughes, who testified that Heard had suffered PTSD as a result of being abused by Depp. Heard also had as a witness her sister, Whitney Henriquez, who testified that she had seen Depp strike Heard in the face multiple times.
Although there was substantial evidence of Heard physically attacking Depp multiple times, she argued that she only ever did so in defense of herself or her sister. Heard also painted a picture of Depp as an unstable on-and-off drug addict who was unable to manage a healthy relationship.
On June 1, the final verdict came in. Depp was awarded $10 million in damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Due to a Virginia law limiting punitive damages to $350,000, Depp will come away with $10.35 million total.
Heard successfully countersued Depp and was awarded $2 million in damages, but many agree that the trial was still an overall victory for Depp. As Depp has an estimated net worth of over $150 million, it seems the trial was more about Depp making a point to the world and potentially saving his career than about the money.
In a statement following the trial, Depp said “the jury gave me my life back.” Time will tell whether Depp will make a career comeback or if Heard will see any negative impact on her own career following the trial.