Johnny Depp’s victory in the defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard came as a shock to some – and his next move turned out to be even more surprising.
Johnny Depp’s lawyers have hinted the Hollywood superstar may not collect his $10.4m (A$14.4m) payment from ex-wife Amber Heard, insisting he is satisfied with his “total victory” which has finally cleared his name.
“We obviously cannot disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified … there was never any question of money for Mr. Depp,” said one of the star’s lawyers, Ben Chew, at Good Morning America (GMA), asked about Heard’s fear. to be left impoverished.
“It was about restoring his reputation – and he did,” Mr Chew said cautiously.
“It was a total win for Johnny,” he said.
In a separate live interview on America’s Today show on Wednesday, Mr. Chew also dismissed the likelihood that the actress would ever reverse the decision, the New York Post reported.
“We are very confident that there are no errors that would justify any type of successful appeal,” he said.
Fellow lawyer Camille Vasquez, the star lawyer who has become a celebrity herself and was promoted this week to partner in her law firm, called it “disappointing” that Heard’s team called the blow victory for women’s rights and the #MeToo movement.
She said the actress was upset by them “using her words against her.”
“The key to winning was focusing on facts and evidence, and Johnny’s opportunity to tell the truth for the first time,” she told GMA, calling it “six years of preparation. “.
“Every question asked was related to something she had said previously.
“And I think the jury got to see, the world got to see and hear Miss Heard” about the truth in the couple’s toxic relationship.
“We believe the evidence speaks for itself. … The jury made a unanimous decision based on these facts,” she said.
“We encourage all victims to come forward, domestic violence has no gender,” she said of the evidence presented showing Depp was also attacked.
The couple both rejected suggestions that social media had unfairly influenced the seven Virginia jurors. Mr Chew also told Today it was “absolutely absurd and baseless” to suggest the overwhelming support Depp had received online was part of an orchestrated campaign.
When asked bluntly if the actor’s team had helped to encourage support – or even paid for it – Ms Vasquez said such claims were “categorically untrue”.
Instead, Depp won over fans, and ultimately the jury, over his “responsibility” in his toxic marriage, Mr. Chew told NBC News.
“Johnny owned his problems. He was very outspoken about his alcohol and drug problems. He was candid about some unfortunate texts he wrote, ”said the lawyer.
“And I think that was a stark contrast to Ms Heard who…didn’t take responsibility for anything.”
Ms Vasquez said the win left Depp with “just a huge sense of relief”.
“I was talking with another friend of ours, a mutual friend of Johnny’s and ours, and he said, ‘I haven’t seen Johnny smile like that in six years.'”
Mr Chew also said the actor was “over the moon” at the decision. “The weight of the world is on his shoulders. He got his life back,” he said, echoing the star’s previous statement.
Ms Vasquez, meanwhile, also mentioned her own unexpected fame during the high-profile trial.
“It was surreal, and if I’m being honest, a bit overwhelming,” she told GMA.
“But if I can be an inspiration to young women who want to go to law school and study and work hard, then it was worth it,” she said.
Depp won his bomb libel suit after seven jurors ruled in his favor that a Washington Post op-ed Heard wrote about becoming a ‘public figure representing domestic violence’ smeared his reputation and harmed his his career.
The actor – who was too busy rocking guitar legend Jeff Beck to be in court to hear he had won his case – said immediately after the win that being able to speak his truth left him “in peace”.
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were made against me… And six years later the jury returned my life. I am truly humbled,” he said at the time.
Heard’s team, however, had already expressed contempt for the lawyers’ planned media blitz this week before their remarks even aired.
“It is as unseemly as it is unprofessional that Johnny Depp’s legal team chose to take a victory lap for setting back the way women can be treated in the courtroom by decades,” said the Heard’s spokesperson in a statement.
“What next? A film and merchandising deal?”
The attack came even though Heard’s own attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, had already given interviews to some of the same media the day after the loss, blaming her on Depp’s team’s approach to “demonize Amber and suppress the evidence”.
On Wednesday, Mr Chew said his rival’s allegations had been “very disappointing to hear”.
“The evidence arrived that should arrive and the judge was very fair to both parties,” he insisted.
Heard’s team also slammed her ex-husband for taking to TikTok and touting the widespread support he’s received.
“As Johnny Depp says he’s ‘moving forward,’ women’s rights are moving backward,” a spokesperson for Heard said in a statement.
“The verdict’s message to victims of domestic violence is…to be afraid to stand up and speak out.”
The Washington Post has since added a detailed editor’s note to Heard’s op-ed to highlight how it was deemed defamatory.
This story was originally published by the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission.
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