Amber Heard says she's 'terrified' that Johnny Depp will sue her for defamation again
"I guess that's what a defamation lawsuit is meant to do," she said in her first interview since she lost her high-profile case against her ex-husband. "It's meant to take your voice."
A jury ruled against the Aquaman actress in Virginia three weeks ago, affirming Depp's claims that she had smeared him with allegations of abuse.
Heard, 36, told Guthrie that she stands by "every word" of the testimony she gave on the stand and said Depp lied repeatedly when he claimed he hadn't abused her during their "ugly" marriage.
She also acknowledged her own bad behavior during her romance with the 59-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star. "I did do and say horrible and regrettable things throughout my relationship," Heard said. "I have so much regret."
Heard went on to voice her frustration with the way the trial played out in the court of public opinion, calling it an example "run amok," particularly with his fans in the courtroom and on social media.
"What I learned in that trial is, it's never going to be good enough," she said. "If you have proof, then it was a scheme — it was a hoax. If you don't have proof, it didn't happen. If you have a bruise, it's fake. If you don't have a bruise, then violence clearly didn't hurt you. If you told people, then you're hysterical. If you didn't tell anyone, it didn't happen."
Furthermore, she regrets how some members of the public reacted to her personally. "I'm not a good victim, I get it. I'm not a likable victim. I'm not a perfect victim, I get it. I'm not a saint. I'm not asking anyone to like me."
Still, she doesn't fault the jury for its ruling, despite what she said was "nonstop relentless testimony from paid employees."
"I don't blame them," she said. "I actually understand he's a beloved character and people feel they know him. He's a fantastic actor."
She told Guthrie that none of her actions were driven by vindictiveness — "this would be a really lousy way to get vengeance" — but that she's concerned about the repercussions the ruling could have on the willingness of other abuse survivors to come forward: "I hope this doesn't have the chilling effect that I worry it may have on other people."
Despite Depp's argument during the trial that no other women have come forward with abuse allegations against him, Heard said they may be too afraid to accuse him publicly. "Look what happened to me when I came forward," she said. "Would you?"
When Guthrie asked if there was any evidence Heard wished the jury could have seen, the actress pointed to a collection of documents from the doctor she was reporting her abuse to as it happened.
"Her notes represented years — years — of real-time explanations of what was going on," Heard said. The notes detailed a 2012 incident in which Heard said Depp "hit her" and "threw her on the floor" and another during which he "ripped her nightgown" and "threw her on the bed," as well as a 2013 altercation when Depp "threw her against a wall and threatened to kill her."
However, a judge ruled these therapist notes to be "hearsay and inadmissible," Guthrie told Dateline viewers.
Guthrie's husband, Michael Feldman, has done consulting work for Depp's legal team.
Last month, a jury in Fairfax County, Va., decided unanimously in favor of Depp, finding that Heard intentionally and maliciously defamed him when she wrote about her experience as a domestic abuse survivor in her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post. Depp won $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, and Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to Virginia's statutory cap of $350,000.
The jury also ruled partly in favor of Heard's defamation countersuit, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages.
Heard, who told Guthrie that she "absolutely" still loves Depp and harbors "no bad feelings" toward him, said she will appeal the court's decision.
Immediately after the verdict, EW talked to two legal experts about the verdict and its fallout, and neither attorney believed an appeal was likely to be successful.
"I think it would be extremely hard and unlikely to win were they to try and appeal the underlying findings, given that they're so credibility-based," said Valentina Shaknes, a founding partner of matrimonial law firm Krauss Shaknes Tallentire & Messeri LLP, which has expertise in domestic abuse and complex marital matters.
Former assistant U.S. attorney Neama Rahmani agreed, saying, "Yeah, I think the chances would be slim on appeal."
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