Amber Heard, Johnny Depp respond to defamation verdict

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are offering their first reactions to the verdict in a high-profile defamation suit the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star brought against his ex-wife, with Heard calling the jury’s decision a “setback” for women.

“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Heard said in a statement Wednesday following the verdict read inside a Virginia courtroom.

Depp had claimed that Heard ruined his reputation by insinuating he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that focused on sexual violence. The op-ed did not name Depp.

The case marked a big win for Depp, with jurors awarding him $15 million in damages after finding that Heard’s op-ed hurt his career. Heard was awarded $2 million as part of a countersuit.

“I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” Heard, 36, said.

“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback,” she said.

“It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”

While saying she was “sad” to have lost the case, Heard added, “But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”

Depp indicated he was celebrating his court victory, writing in a statement posted on his official Instagram account that a “new chapter has finally begun” in his life.

“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed,” Depp, 58, said in a statement.

“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” the Academy Award-nominated performer said.

“It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”

“And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” he said.

“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”