FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) — A Fairfax County, Virginia jury on Wednesday awarded Johnny Depp $15 million in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. He may only be awarded $10.35 million -- $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 punitive damages, in accordance with Virginia law. The jury also found favor with Heard, awarding her $2 million. Heard said she was defamed by Depp's lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.
The jury announced Wednesday afternoon they had reached a verdict hours into its third day of deliberations in the defamation lawsuits of actor Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp released a statement on Instagram Wednesday:
"Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye. 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. 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. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought. 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."
Amber Heard also released a statement Wednesday:
"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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. I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. 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. I believe Johnny's attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I'm sad I lost this case. 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."
4:07 p.m.: Depp's lawyers Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew speak to the crowd and media outside the Fairfax County Courthouse on their victory. Heard's attorney's did not come to speak to the public.
"Today's verdict confirms what we have said from the beginning, that the claims against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence," Vasquez said.
4:02 p.m.: Johnny Depp releases a statement regarding the jury's verdict saying he's "at peace" and wanted nothing but to "reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome." Read it here or above.
3:36 p.m.: Amber Heard releases a statement regarding the jury's verdict saying she's "disappointed" and "heartbroken." Read it here or above.
3:30 p.m.: The jury found favor with Heard's countersuit, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages and $0 in punitive damages. Heard said she was defamed by Depp's former lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.
3:25 p.m. -- The jury has awarded actor Johnny Depp $15M in the defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. He may only be awarded $10.35 million---$10M in compensatory damages and $350,000 punitive damages, in accordance with Virginia law.
3:20 p.m. -- The first statement was read, stating Depp has proven that he was defamed by Heard's op-ed headline, reading "Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. This has to change."
3:15 p.m. -- The judge walked back into the courtroom.
3:03 p.m. -- Judge announces short recess and sends jury back to fill out the amount of damages awarded in the case. Judge Azcarate said the court document was left blank and it has to be filled out even if it's a dollar amount.
3:00 p.m. -- The jury was called back into the courtroom.
2:49 p.m. -- Amber Heard entered the courtroom. Johnny Depp is not in the courtroom but watching live from the UK.
2:37 p.m. -- Amber Heard arrived at the Fairfax County Courthouse.
2:04 p.m. -- 7News received an emailed statement from a spokesperson for Amber Heard, who was said to be making her way to the courthouse.
"Your presence shows where your priorities are," the statement read. "Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour," the spokesperson for Heard wrote.
1:59 p.m. -- 7News' Caroline Patrickis said during a live stream on Facebook that a court clerk will read the verdict.
1:30 p.m. -- The jury announced it has reached a verdict. The announcement will be read at 3 p.m.
12:47 p.m. -- The Jury returned from lunch.
12:26 p.m. -- The jury broke for lunch.
11 a.m. -- The jury is still deliberating. They have to answer 42 questions before they reach a verdict.
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9 a.m. -- The seven-person civil jury headed inside the courthouse to start day three of deliberations
SEE ALSO | Jurors in Depp-Heard defamation case need to answer 42 questions before reaching verdict
The jury deliberated for about two hours last Friday and another seven hours on Tuesday before going home. After a few hours on Wednesday, they reached a verdict.
READ MORE | Depp-Heard related stories
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor sued his ex-wife for $50 million over allegations Heard made about domestic abuse when she penned a 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse. Heard has filed a countersuit that includes a request for $100 million in damages.
The jury was asked to decide both claims.
For a month now, the jurors heard testimony focused on details of alleged abuse that Heard says she suffered at the hands of Depp.
“I knew I couldn't just forgive him, right, because that means it will happen again. Like, I've seen the health class videos,” Heard told jurors earlier in the case, through tears. “I was heartbroken.”
Depp has denied any physical or sexual abuse and says Heard concocted the claims to destroy his reputation.
“I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse, all these outlandish, outrageous stories of me committing these things,” he said. “And living with it for six years, and waiting to be able to bring the truth out.”
In closing arguments, both legal teams told jurors that a verdict in their favor would give their clients their lives back.
The case itself is a defamation claim -- When the jury deliberates, it will have to focus not only on whether there was abuse but also on whether Heard's op-ed piece can be considered legally defamatory. The article itself focuses mostly on policy questions of domestic violence, but Depp's lawyer point to two passages in the article, as well as an online headline that they say defamed Depp.
RELATED | Jury heads home on second day of deliberations in Depp-Amber Heard trial
In the first passage, Heard writes that “two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath.” Depp's lawyers call it a clear reference to Depp, given that Heard publicly accused Depp of domestic violence in 2016 — two years before she wrote the article.
In a second passage, she states, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
The online headline reads “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. This has to change."
“She didn't mention his name. She didn't have to,” Depp's lawyer Ben Chew said. “Everyone knew exactly who and what Ms. Heard was talking about.”
Heard's lawyers said Heard can't be held liable for the headline because she didn't write it, and that the two passages in the article are not about the abuse allegations themselves but how Heard's life changed after she made them.
J. Benjamin Rottenborn told jurors that even if they tend to believe Depp's claim that he never abused Heard, he still can't win his case because Heard has a First Amendment right to weigh in on matters of public debate.
In closing arguments, though, Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez argued that Heard's free-speech rights have limits.
“The First Amendment doesn't protect lies that hurt and defame people,” Vasquez said.
Stick with 7News for live updates in the Depp-Heard Trial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.