On June 1, 2022, actor Johnny Depp was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages in his libel case against British tabloid The Sun. The jury found that the tabloid had falsely accused Depp of domestic violence against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Although the jury did not award punitive damages, the verdict was met with wild cheering from Depp fans outside the courthouse.
The case was brought to court by Depp in 2018, after The Sun published an article that accused him of being a “wife-beater” and of physically and emotionally abusing Heard during their marriage. Depp denied the allegations and argued that the article was defamatory. He sought damages of £50 million (roughly $65 million).
The trial lasted three weeks and included testimony from both Depp and Heard. Depp testified that he had never been violent towards Heard and that she had been the one to initiate physical altercations. He also presented evidence that Heard had been violent towards him, including text messages and photographs of his injuries.
The jury found in favor of Depp, ruling that The Sun had failed to prove that Depp had been violent towards Heard. As a result, Depp was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. However, the jury did not award punitive damages, as they found that The Sun had not acted with malice.
The verdict was met with wild cheering from Depp fans outside the courthouse. The case has been seen as a victory for Depp, who has been subject to intense media scrutiny since the allegations first surfaced.
The verdict also has implications for the future of libel cases in the UK. The case has been seen as a test of the country’s libel laws, which are notoriously strict and make it difficult for public figures to sue for libel. The verdict in this case may make it easier for public figures to take legal action against false allegations in the future.