Amber Heard Fears Future Lawsuits From Johnny Depp—But Says She Still Loves Him

Topline

Actress Amber Heard said Wednesday she is afraid of future lawsuits from her ex-husband Johnny Depp if she continues to speak out about their relationship—but said she still loves him—nearly two weeks after jurors found she defamed him and awarded Depp $10.4 million in damages.

Amber Heard sits during the defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, … [+] Virginia, on May 26, 2022. (Photo by MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Key Facts

In an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Heard said she was nervous about what she could say after the verdict, adding she “took for granted what I assumed was my right to speak.”

Heard also continued to contend the 2018 Washington Post op-ed at the center of the trial was not about Depp, even despite the trial’s outcome.

The actress maintained the op-ed, which did not mention Depp by name, was about “loaning my voice to a bigger cultural conversation that we were having at the time,” referring to the #MeToo movement.

Heard said she had “teams of lawyers” review the drafts of the op-ed, as “it was important for me not to make it about him,” or “do anything like defame him.”

Guthrie asked if Heard still stands by a statement she made during the trial—that she still had “love for Johnny”—and Heard said, “Absolutely, I love him,” and that she holds “no bad feelings or ill will toward him at all.”

Crucial Quote

“I’m scared that no matter what I do, no matter what I say or how I say it, every step that I take will present another opportunity for the sort of silencing, which is what, I guess, a defamation lawsuit is meant to do,” Heard said. “It’s meant to take your voice.”

Tangent

Heard addressed the controversy around her $7 million divorce settlement during the interview, which the actress said she would donate to two charities—the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. During the trial, ACLU executive Terence Dougherty testified she had not donated the $3.5 million she had pledged to the organization, and that he believed billionaire Elon Musk, who briefly dated Heard, made a payment of $500,000 on her behalf. Heard said Wednesday she still plans to honor her pledge, and agreed with Guthrie it may have damaged her credibility during the trial.

Key Background

Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation, claiming the Post op-ed insinuated he abused her, and sought $50 million in damages, leading to a six-week trial. The jury found Heard defamed Depp and awarded the actor $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, though the punitive damages were knocked down to $350,000—the maximum amount allowed under Virginia state law, where the trial took place. Heard was awarded $2 million after she won part of a countersuit against Depp. Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said earlier this month Heard cannot afford to pay the $10 million judgment.

What To Watch For

In addition to the portions played on TODAY, Heard’s full interview will air Friday on NBC’s Dateline at 8 p.m., and part of the Dateline interview will be available Thursday on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.

Further Reading

Amber Heard Says She Doesn’t ‘Blame’ Jurors For Siding With Johnny Depp—But Says Trial Wasn’t ‘Fair’ (Forbes)

Jury Rules Amber Heard Defamed Johnny Depp In Domestic Abuse Op-Ed (Forbes)

Musk Likely Paid Portion Of Amber Heard’s Pledged ACLU Donations, Exec Testifies (Forbes)

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