Heard announced the settlement on Instagram Monday, Dec. 19, writing, “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.”
She continued: “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.”
Heard did not disclose the financial terms of the settlement, though Depp will reportedly receive a $1 million payout from Heard’s insurance company. Depp was originally awarded $10 million after a jury found Heard guilty of defaming him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she identified herself as a victim of domestic abuse (Depp was not named in the piece). Heard and her lawyers appealed the ruling in July.
In a statement, Depp’s lawyers Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, said, “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. The jury’s unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp’s favor against Ms. Heard remain fully in place. The payment of $1 — 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.”
On top of having her insurance company cover the cost of the settlement, Heard suggested the settlement did not contain any conditions pertaining to guilt, nor any that would prevent her from speaking about the defamation case in the future. “I have made no admission,” she said. “This is not an act of concession. There are no restrictions or gags with respect to my voice moving forward.”
A source close to Depp, however, pushed back, saying the original judgement “can still be used against her if she were to again repeat the false and defamatory allegations.”
A lawyer for Heard did not immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.
In her note, Heard said she’d “lost faith in the American legal system” and described the vast differences between her defamation trial in the U.S. and the one she won in the U.K. — both in the actual courtroom and in the court of public opinion. During the latter, she said, she 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 I was subjected to domestic and sexual violence.”
Meanwhile, during her trial this summer in the U.S., Heard said she 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.” (She noted that even if her appeal was successful, it would most likely lead to yet another jury trial.)
With the case behind her, Heard said she plans 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.” She ended her note with a thank you to her team and supporters, saying, “Any survivor knows that the ability to tell their story often feels like the only relief, and I cannot find enough words to tell you the hope your belief in me inspires, not just for me, but for all of you.”
This story was updated 12/19/22 at 11:56 a.m. ET with a statement from Depp’s lawyers.