Johnny Depp has been allowed to move forward with his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard after a Virginia judge granted his right to pursue the case.
This news comes as Amber's plea to the court to throw the case out, in light of Johnny losing his libel case against The Sun in 2020, as well as his attempts to appeal the ruling being denied by the UK courts too. It is all relating to claims from Johnny that an article in which Amber referred to her experience of domestic abuse is in reference to him—despite him not being named.
People (opens in new tab)reports that Amber's plea to dismiss the lawsuit was filed in Virginia, March 2019. Per the legal documents filed by the actress, "The U.K. judgment should hold sway on the proceedings in the U.S. since both lawsuits center on allegations of the actor as an abuser."
However, the case filed in Virginia isn't relating to The Sun but to an op-ed written by Amber in the Washington Post (opens in new tab) in December 2018. In this piece the actress wrote, "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."
Despite not naming the alleged perpetrator, only three months later her ex-husband filed the defamation case—suing her for $50M. The actor's lawyers said in the lawsuit, "Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard. Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016. They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career."
Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate, who rejected Amber's plea said that The Sun case and the defamation piece against her op-ed are "inherently different."
The judge says that Amber, "argues she was in privity with The Sun because they both had the same interest in the case. However, for privity to exist, [Heard's] interest in the case must be so identical with The Sun's interest such that The Sun's representation of its interest is also a representation of [Heard's] legal right."
She added in her ruling, "The Sun's interests were based on whether the statements the newspaper published were false. [Heard's] interests relate to whether the statements she published were false."
Amber received a $7M settlement after she and Johnny divorced; a sum which she pledged to donate to ACLU and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In recent months, her ex husband's legal team has been granted permission to determine whether she had in actual fact donated the money.
On July 22, 2021, Amber's lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said, "We produced the documents from the ACLU on how much she has. She has always said she fully intends to continue to give the full $7 million, but she can't do it yet. She will do it when she can. But she has given a significant amount to both."
If you or anyone you know has been affected by domestic violence in the US or UK, please contact the following support networks which are accessible online as well as over the phone, 24/7, 365 days a year.
US— The National Domestic Violence Hotline (opens in new tab) online or call 1-800-799-7233
UK—National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.
She's an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.
Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.
Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.
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