Johnny Depp wins right to sue Amber Heard in $50million libel case after Virginia judge throws out actress’s plea to dismiss
- Johnny Depp won the right to move forward with libel suit against Amber Heard
- She had requested the case be thrown out following the UK ruling against Depp
- UK court ruled against Depp in November in libel case over British tabloid piece
- The court ruled ‘wife beater’ statement against actor, 58, was ‘substantially true’
Johnny Depp has won the right to sue Amber Heard in $50 million libel case after a Virginia judge threw out the actress’s plea to dismiss the suit.
Depp, 58, is trying to clear his name after losing a defamation suit against The Sun after the paper branded him a ‘wife-beater’ amid allegations of domestic abuse.
The Virginia case relates to a 2018 Washington Post op-Ed in which Heard, 35, wrote about surviving domestic abuse – although she did not name her ex-husband in the piece.
Depp’s suit, filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, accuses Heard of creating a ‘hoax’ account of being a domestic violence survivor for the 2018 article.
Heard had requested the libel suit against her, filed in March 2019, be thrown out, claiming the ruling in the UK case should swing any new cases in her favor because they both relate to domestic abuse allegations against Depp.
But Judge Azcarate yesterday ruled the statements made by The Sun and Heard were ‘inherently different’.
Johnny Depp has won the right to sue Amber Heard (pictured together in November 2011) in a $50 million libel case after a Virginia judge threw out the actress’s plea to dismiss the suit
The ruling stated: ‘The Sun’s interests were based on whether the statements the newspaper published were false. [Heard’s] interests relate to whether the statements she published were false.’
The ruling also noted Depp filed the defamation suit against The Sun before Heard’s op-Ed was published – and that she was not named in the case against the British paper.
In the December 2018 op-Ed, Heard wrote: ‘I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.’
Depp (pictured in July 2020) lost his suit against The Sun in November after a judge ruled the paper’s claim the Pirates of the Caribbean actor was a ‘wife-beater’ was ‘substantially true’
Depp’s suit, filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, accuses Heard (pictured outside the UK High Court in July 2020) of creating a ‘hoax’ account of being a domestic violence survivor for a 2018 newspaper article
During the trial Heard showed bruises she claimed were inflicted by Depp as he allegedly smashed her iPhone in her face at her LA home in May 2016
The UK’s High Court ruled against Depp following an explosive three-week trial last July, finding allegations the actor was a ‘wife beater’ was ‘substantially true.’
The judge ruled that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen occasions and put her in ‘fear of her life’ three times often while on drink and drugs binges, which he said turned the actor into a ‘monster’, in one of the most high-profile libel clashes of this century.
Lawyers for The Pirates of the Caribbean star had asked two Court of Appeal judges to grant permission for him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of having its findings overturned and a second trial ordered.
They claimed the judge in Depp’s initial libel trial had not ‘factually’ considered all the allegations of violence against him and that they had ‘fresh evidence’ Heard had ‘lied’ about giving her entire $7million divorce settlement to charity.
They said that the charity claim influenced how her testimony was viewed, but the Court of Appeal ruled that it did not have an impact on the judge and that he would have reached the same conclusion on Heard being the victim of domestic violence.
Depp lost his role in Disney movie Fantastic Beasts following the High Court judgment, and the damage to his reputation risks him losing out on more roles in the future.
The High Court libel case heard a string of claims about the nature of Depp’s relationship with his ex-wife Amber Heard, left, and was nicknamed the trial of the century