Depp sued Heard for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Although she didn’t name him, he claims her allegations impacted his ability to work.
She pursued a $100m counterclaim against the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, accusing him of “orchestrating a smear campaign” against her.
After three days of deliberations, on Wednesday (1 June), the jury ruled that Heard had defamed in on all three counts and awarded him $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages. Meanwhile, Heard was awarded $2m in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.
Since the verdict was announced, several celebrities – including Heard’s Aquaman co-star, Amy Schumer, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss (who, in a rare court appearance, testified on behalf of ex-boyfriend Depp), former The View co-host Meghan McCain, and The Boys star Laurie Holden – have reacted to the jury’s decision.
While Schumer showed her support for Heard by sharing a quote from feminist journalist and activist Gloria Steinem on Instagram, Holden said the jury’s verdict “sent a message to the world that abuse has no gender”.
Without publicly taking sides, Momoa – the lead in Aquaman, opposite Heard – “liked” both parties public statements on Instagram late Wednesday night.
During the trial, Heard’s role in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom– the forthcoming DC movie sequel starring Momoa – came under scrutiny.
Hollywood expert Kathryn Arnold testified that Heard’s role had been “radically reduced from what it was in the script” in light of Depp attorney Adam Waldman’s statements in 2020.
She also testified that “all the interactions with Momoa’s character, and certainly the action scenes, were taken out”.
Aquaman 2 is scheduled for release on 17 March 2023. The petition to remove Heard from the movie surpassed its target of 4.5 million signatures this week.