Johnny Depp To Proceed With $50 Million Amber Heard Defamation Suit Despite UK Legal Loss

by : Emily Brown on : 18 Aug 2021 10:10
Johnny Depp To Proceed With $50 Million Amber Heard Defamation Suit Despite UK Legal LossPA Images

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp has been granted permission to proceed with his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

A Virginia judge granted Depp the right to pursue the lawsuit on Tuesday, August 17, despite the actor having lost his libel lawsuit against The Sun in the UK in November 2020.


Depp sued The Sun after it described him as a ‘wife-beater’, but the UK court upheld the outlet’s claims as being ‘substantially true.’

Amber Heard (PA Images)PA Images

In spite of the loss, the actor’s fight to clear his name continued with a $50 million lawsuit filed against Heard in Virginia in March 2019, which referred to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed where Heard wrote about surviving domestic violence. Though the Aquaman actor did not name her ex-husband in the piece, she has previously accused Depp of domestic abuse.

Heard responded with a plea to dismiss Depp’s lawsuit, arguing the judgement of the UK court should sway the proceedings in her favour since both lawsuits relate to allegations of Depp being an abuser.


In spite of the argument, her plea to dismiss the case was denied by Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate according to court documents obtained by People this week, meaning Depp will be able to move forward with the case.

Johnny Depp. (PA Images)PA Images

Azcarate argued that while Heard’s op-ed and The Sun‘s article may share themes of alleged abuse, the statements made in each article were ‘inherently different.’

In her ruling, the judge wrote:


[Heard] 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.

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.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (PA Images)PA Images

Azcarate further argued that Heard had not been named in Depp’s lawsuit against The Sun because her op-ed was published after he filed the lawsuit against the newspaper.

In a statement to People, a representative for Heard described Depp’s lawsuit as ‘just the latest of Johnny Depp’s repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard’, claiming his actions ‘prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior.’


The rep added that Heard ‘will not be silenced’ and her team will ‘prevail in defeating’ the lawsuit.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. You can talk in confidence 24 hours a day to the national domestic violence helpline Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Celebrity, Abuse, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, Lawsuit, The Sun


  1. People

    Johnny Depp Granted Permission to Proceed with $50 Million Defamation Suit Against Amber Heard