Amber Heards statement in full as she settles Johnny Depp defamation lawsuit
Amber Heard has settled a multi-million dollar defamation case with former husband Johnny Depp, who she originally met on the set of 2011's The Rum Diary.
The Aquaman star, 36, said the decision was “not an act of concession” but an opportunity to resolve the situation “on terms I can agree to”.
The PA news agency reports the settlement was in the amount of one million dollars (£820,000), which Mr Depp has pledged to donate to charity
It comes less than a month after Amber sought to appeal against the verdict in her legal battle against Johnny, arguing that it will have a “chilling” effect on other women.
The actress was sued by Johnny over a 2018 article she wrote for The Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, which his lawyers said falsely accused him of being an abuser.
In June this year, a jury at Fairfax County Court returned a verdict in Johnny's favour and he was awarded 10.3 million dollars (£8.43 million) for damage to his reputation.
"After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex-husband in Virginia," Amber's statement began.
"It's important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways in which women are re-victimised when they come forward.
"Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to," Amber continued to write.
"I have made no admission. This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward. I make this decision having lost faith in the American legal system, where my unprotected testimony served as entertainment and social media fodder."
Amber, whose CV includes Aquaman and The Danish Girl, went on to praise the UK justice system in her statement.
"When I stood before a judge in the UK, I was vindicated by a robust, impartial and fair system, where I was protected from having to give the worst moments of my testimony in front of the world's media, and where the court found that I was subjected to domestic and sexual violence," it continued.
"In the US, however, I exhausted almost all my resources in advance of and during a trial in which I was subjected to a courtroom in which abundant, direct evidence that corroborated my testimony was excluded and in which popularity and power mattered more than reason and due process.
"In the interim I was exposed to a type of humiliation that I simply cannot re-live. Even if my US appeal is successful, the best outcome would be a re-trial where a new jury would have to consider the evidence again. I simply cannot go through that for a third time. Time is precious and I want to spend my time productively and purposefully.
"For too many years I have been caged in an arduous and expensive legal process, which has shown itself unable to protect me and my right to free speech.
"I cannot afford to risk an impossible bill – one that is not just financial, but also psychological, physical and emotional. Women shouldn't have to face abuse or bankruptcy for speaking her truth, but unfortunately it is not uncommon.
"In settling this case I am also choosing the freedom to dedicate my time to the work that helped me heal after my divorce; work that exists in realms in which I feel seen, heard and believed, and in which I know I can effect change. I will not be threatened, disheartened or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have.
"I'd like to thank my outstanding appellate and original trial teams for their relentless hard work. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and I turn my attention to the growing support that I've felt and seen publicly in the months since trial, and the efforts that have been made to show solidarity with my story. Any survivor knows that the ability to tell their story often feels like the only relief, and I cannot find enough to tell you the hope your belief in me inspires, not just for me, but for all of you. Thank you. See you soon."
Mr Depp’s lawyers, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, said they were “pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter”.
They added that the money from the settlement would be donated by the actor to several different charities, to be announced at a later date.
“We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light,” Mr Chew and Ms Vasquez said in a joint statement.
“The jury’s unanimous decision and the resulting judgment in Mr Depp’s favour against Ms Heard remain fully in place.
“The payment of one million dollars – which Mr Depp is pledging and will donate to charities – reinforces Ms Heard’s acknowledgement of the conclusion of the legal system’s rigorous pursuit for justice.”
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