Depp-Heard trial: Three questions answered after the verdict

  • In Business
  • 2022-06-02 02:51:21Z
  • By BBC
Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp  

Jurors in the US state of Virginia have found that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard both defamed each other in public statements.

Mr Depp, 58, who was suing his ex-wife for $50m, won all three of his claims and has been awarded $10.4m in damages.

Ms Heard, 36, counter-sued for $100m. But she won only one of her three claims against Mr Depp and will receive $2m.

With the drama in the courtroom now over, here is what comes next:

What are the damages Depp and Heard must pay?

Civil courts award damages to plaintiffs to compensate their pain and suffering or help them recoup losses after an incident.

Compensatory damages are intended to reimburse a plaintiff who has experienced actual losses, including from future earnings.

Punitive damages are intended to punish a defendant for their negligent actions, deterring them from committing the same violation again.

The jury initially awarded Mr Depp $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages.

Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter amount to $350,000, to meet Virginia's statutory limit for punitive damage awards, so Ms Heard now owes him about $10.4m.

Meanwhile, Ms Heard was awarded $2m in compensatory damages but no punitive damages - a far cry from the $100m she demanded in her counter-suit.

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Can Heard appeal?

The jury in Fairfax, Virginia, largely sided with Mr Depp's side of the story.

In its verdict, the seven-member panel said Ms Heard had defamed her ex-husband with "false" statements about their relationship. They also said the statements were made with "actual malice" - that is, with reckless disregard or negligence.

Ms Heard did succeed on one count: the claim that Mr Depp's lawyer gave a statement to the Daily Mail in 2020 calling her abuse allegations a hoax.

Reacting to the verdict, the actress said she was "disappointed beyond words" and "heartbroken".

She has an opportunity to appeal the jury verdict - and a spokeswoman has said she plans to do so.

But unless new evidence or testimony emerges in the aftermath of this blockbuster six-week courtroom drama, little looks likely to affect Wednesday's outcome.

How much are Depp and Heard worth?

Mr Depp rose from a child star to become one of the best-paid actors in the world.

He is said to have amassed a salary of more than $300m (£240m) from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise alone.

His net worth is currently estimated to be about $150m.

Ms Heard has made a name for herself in movies like The Danish Girl and Aquaman, a sequel for which she is due to star in next year. But her acting career had only recently begun to take off.

Her current net worth is unclear, but it is significantly lower than that of her former husband. Some sources say it is around $8m, while other sources report it may be in negative territory.

Given that Mr Depp has been awarded over $10m in damages, and she will only receive $2m from him, Ms Heard's finances could take a major hit.


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