Johnny Depp loses case against The Sun over claims he beat ex-wife Amber Heard

The Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto - Getty Images
Photo credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Johnny Depp has lost his defamation case against The Sun over a 2018 article that described him as a "wife-beater". He will not be awarded compensation for damage to his reputation.

Mr Justice Nicol, said: “The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel … The defendants [the Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.

“I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account. In those circumstances, parliament has said that a defendant has a complete defence.”

The case has been described as the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, and was widely documented by the press over the course of three weeks in July. Both Depp and Amber Heard attended the proceedings, in which details of their violent, tempestuous relationship were disclosed.

The case was scheduled to start in March, but was delayed because of the pandemic outbreak. Depp's legal team sought to prove The Sun’s allegations are false and amount to “serious harm” as defined in the Defamation Act 2013, suing the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor, Dan Wootton.

Today's decision may not be the end of the legal battle - whoever loses is expected to appeal.

Depp and Heard met in 2011 on the set of The Rum Diaries and married a few years later in 2015. In 2016, she obtained a temporary restraining order against him after accusing him of abuse - an allegation he denied.

The former couple settled their divorce out of court in 2017 and she donated her $7million (£5.5million) settlement to a charity that supports victims of domestic violence and a children’s hospital.

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