Amber Heard Announces Final Decision In Johnny Depp Case

Amber Heard has announced via social media that she has settled the defamation case with Johnny Depp.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

Amber Heard

Amber Heard has announced that she has settled the defamation case brought against her in Virginia by her former spouse Johnny Depp. In a lengthy Instagram post, the controversial Aquaman star explained that she had decided to no longer pursue legal action in the case of John C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard, which ultimately ended with a verdict overwhelmingly in the former’s favor. While Amber Heard immediately announced that she would appeal said verdict, her new statement says that she is taking the opportunity to “emancipate [herself] from something she attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms [she] can agree to.”

The terms that Amber Heard feels she can agree to with Johnny Depp’s legal team have not been disclosed, but the verdict against her found her guilty of three counts of defamation and ordered her to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (which were reduced by Judge Penney S. Azcarate to $350,000 under Virginia law). Since the June 1 decision, Amber Heard has consistently said that she will appeal the decision (which also found Johnny Depp guilty of one count of defamation), but she seems to have publicly reversed course on that stance.

Johnny Depp Amber Heard verdict

According to Amber Heard’s Instagram post regarding the Johnny Depp case, she is making no concessions and the statement that there are “no restrictions or gags with respect to [her] voice moving forward” implies that she did not make any non-disclosure agreements as part of the settlement. That is particularly interesting, considering one of the roots of this particular case was Amber Heard writing a Washington Post op-ed (or, allegedly, allowing a ghostwritten article to be published in her name) that was widely considered to imply that Johnny Depp was a domestic abuser. 

In the post, Amber Heard explains at length that she feels she is unable to go forward with legal proceedings against Johnny Depp due to the immense pressure and scrutiny she has faced so far. As she notes in the text, even a successful appeal against the verdict in Virginia would likely result in a new trial and presumably bring in the same kind of public attention she described as “an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimized when they come forward.” As such, Heard says that she is choosing to settle rather than re-live what she describes as a horrible process.

Amber Heard goes so far as to say that the decision not to continue to pursue legal action against Johnny Depp was in part due to her having “lost faith in the American legal system,” contrasting the verdict against her with the 2020 libel claim by Depp against News Group Newspaper in the United Kingdom. That case ended with a judge ruling against Depp, stating that Heard’s accusations of domestic abuse were “substantially true.”

It is possible that this will draw the extended legal battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp to a close, at least for the time being. Both Heard and Depp currently have other pending lawsuits to manage, with it being unclear whether this means Heard will be dropping her related case against New York Marine and General Insurance Co., which she claims was contractually obligated to pay out a policy in her defense.