Amber Heard says she doesn't 'blame' jury after defamation verdict, calls ex Johnny Depp 'a fantastic actor'
Amber Heard is ready to talk about the Johnny Depp defamation trial verdict.
The Aquaman actress, 36, sat down for an interview with NBC News's Savannah Guthrie and it will air Tuesday and Wednesday on Today as well as during a Friday Dateline special.
In the preview, Heard says she doesn't blame the jury, which found that she defamed the Pirates of the Caribbean actor in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, and calls her ex-husband "a fantastic actor." She also discusses the "hate and vitriol" cast her way on social media, saying it has been unfair.
"I don't blame them," she said of the Fairfax, Va., jury, which unanimously found that Heard defamed Depp and awarded him $10.35 million in damages on June 1. "I actually understand. He's a beloved character and people feel they know him. He's a fantastic actor."
Guthrie said there was no polite way to say it, but the jury listened to Heard's testimony and thought she was was "lying."
"How could they ... not come to that conclusion," Heard replied. "They had sat in those seats and heard over three weeks of non-stop relentless testimony from [Depp's] paid employees, and toward the end of the trial [random people] ... about how I was a non-credible person [and] not to believe a word that came out of my mouth."
Heard, who was married to her 59-year-old Rum Diaries co-star from 2015 to 2016, also spoke of the media frenzy surrounding the trial, including the negative social media narrative about her.
"I don't care what one thinks about me or what judgments you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home, in my marriage, behind closed doors," Heard said. "I don't presume the average person should know those things. And so I don't take it personally."
She continued, "But even somebody who is sure I'm deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I'm lying, you still couldn't look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there's been a fair representation. You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair."
Heard's spokesperson shared her motivation for the NBC News interview, telling Yahoo Entertainment on Monday, "Johnny Depp’s legal team blanketed the media for days after the verdict with numerous statements and interviews on television, and Depp himself did the same on social media. Ms. Heard simply intended to respond to what they aggressively did last week; she did so by expressing her thoughts and feelings, much of which she was not allowed to do on the witness stand."
Guthrie has interviewed counsel for Heard and Depp since the verdict. Heard's attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said Depp's legal team "demonized" Heard during the hearing, and she said she doubted that the jury was able to avoid seeing social media headlines about the case, per the judge's instruction.
"There's no way they couldn't have been influenced," said Bredehoft, who noted Heard would appeal. "And it was horrible. [The coverage] really, really was lopsided" to Depp's benefit. "It was like the Roman Colosseum."
Depp's lawyers called it "utterly baseless" and "categorically false" that Depp or his team orchestrated an online smear campaign against Heard.
Depp was a clear favorite on social media during the trial, with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp receiving over 20 billion TikTok views, and the hashtag #JusticeForAmberHeard receiving only 91 million views to date. Depp, who has been publicly celebrating his victory, joined TikTok last week to thank fans for their support, telling them, "We did the right thing together." Heard's attorney told Yahoo Entertainment at the time that as Depp "says he's 'moving forward,' women's rights are moving backward. The verdict's message to victims of domestic violence is ... be afraid to stand up and speak out."
The former couple has been fighting over the 2018 op-ed in which Heard wrote about surviving domestic abuse — though didn't name Depp. He sued for her $50 million, denying all allegations of abuse and alleging that the article hurt his career, and she countersued for $100 million. In addition to Depp being awarded $10.35 million, the jury awarded Heard $2 million for comments Depp’s lawyer made calling her abuse allegations a "hoax."
Parts of Heard's interview will air on Today on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Then more of the conversation air Friday at 8 p.m. ET on a special Dateline.
Additional reporting by Taryn Ryder.