Johnny Depp’s Libel Lawsuit Has Come To A Verdict

Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2

Johnny Depp has been spending more time in court rooms in recent months that he has on movie sets, as the actor has been involved in a variety of legal disputes. Some have been directly against his ex-wife Amber Heard, and others simply include her. One of these latter lawsuits was a case against The Sun newspaper of the U.K. that called Depp a "wife-beater" in its pages. Depp sued for libel, and the verdict is now in. Unfortunately for Depp, the court did not agree with the actor's perspective on the situation, as the case has been dismissed in favor of the defendants.

The case surrounded the use of the term "wife-beater" which The Sun used to describe Depp in a 2018 article. The Sun then called Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard, to testify. The actress has accused the Pirates of the Caribbean actor of abuse during their relationship. While the decision agrees that Depp's side successfully proved the elements of a libel claim, the case has been dismissed because, according to THR, the judge found the statements made by The Sun to be "substantially true." Judge Andrew Nicol Clearly appears to have largely accepted the testimony of Amber Heard as fact, and as the truth is a solid defense in a libel claim, that's what has apparently happened here.

Certainly, this is a big win for The Sun specifically and will be seen as a win for publishers in general. It's going to be just as big a hit for Johnny Depp, that now has a U.K. court calling Amber Heard's allegations against the actor true, even if that wasn't, strictly speaking, the issue at hand. That will be the issue at hand next year when Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard goes to trial in Virginia. Depp has sued his ex-wife claiming that an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, in which she speaks of abuse she has suffered (though without ever using Depp's name) has cost him work, including his spot as Captain Jack Sparrow in the lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Amber Heard has filed a counter lawsuit of her own in that case, and her side is currently set to depose the actor, though his side is looking to have her claims dismissed. If he is required to sit for the deposition, it will likely require Depp to take a break from filming the third Fantastic Beasts film, whose production is getting underway.

Originally, the two lawsuits were going to be heard in close proximity to each other but the pandemic caused delays in both cases. The libel case was one of the few being heard under current conditions. The U.S. defamation case is now looking to get started in the spring of 2021.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.