Johnny Depp & Amber Heard Reach A Deal Over Multi-Million Defamation Case; ‘Aquaman’ Star Calls Decision “Very Difficult”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s long legal battle appears to be over.

In a lengthy post on social media, the Aquaman star this morning revealed her “very difficult” decision made with “a great deal of deliberation” to settle the defamation suit with her ex-husband.

In her Instagram post Heard also said that the agreement provided “an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to.” As you can seem below, she went on to write:  “I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”

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A post shared by Amber Heard (@amberheard)

Today’s announcement comes less than a month after Heard and her new legal team launched a formal appeal of the June 1 verdict that found heavily against her in a Virginia court. Following weeks of bitter and often lurid testimony by both parties, Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages by the panel. Before releasing the Fairfax County jury, Judge Penny Azcarate reduced the punitive damages figure to $350,000, the maximum allowed in the state. Bizarrely, while handing Heard a stunning loss, the jurors also gave her $2 million counterclaim award.

That counterclaim award and the First Amendment proved the potential wedge by which Heard’s constitutional-law specialists Ballard Spahr LLP attorneys hoped to succeed in appeal in the Commonwealth. Complicating matter, part of the requirements of an appeal in Virginia is that Heard would an $8.35 million bond with 6% interest per year before she could move forward. Money, from all indications, the actress did not have, a well place source tells Deadline.

There was no details Monday on the specifics of the settlement, or if it affected Depp’s own November 3 filed appeal over that counterclaim award. However, Heard did make a proportional pay-out to her former Rum Diary co-star in the realm of $1 million, I hear. Depp himself did not take to Instagram today and reps for the ex-Pirates of the Caribbean actor did not response to request for comment on the settlement or any payment.

 Amidst a series of legal actions, Depp sued his ex-wife Heard in March 2019 for $50 million over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed under Heard’s byline.

In the article, the American Civil Liberties Union ambassador spoke about becoming a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” While Heard never mentioned the one-time Oscar nominee by name in the piece in the Jeff Bezos-owned broadsheet, Depp insisted the op-ed “devastated” his already fading career. Under what are now characterized as the orders of publicists and lawyers at the time, Depp was silent during he and Heard’s restraining order-loaded 2016 divorce. However in his filings and repeatedly on the stand during the media saturated trial earlier this year, Depp declared he was in fact the one who was abused in the couple’s relationship.

Repeatedly failing to get the matter dismissed or moved to another jurisdiction, Heard countersued Depp for $100 million in the summer of 2020. That countersuit came months before Depp’s UK libel case against the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater” proved a dramatic flameout in November 2020.

Dealing with an ongoing legal skirmish between her insurance companies over paying for her defense and more, a self declared “stateless” Heard also proved unsuccessful in her initial attempts over this fall to have the Virginia verdict overturned or tossed out.

Now it is over. It seems

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