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It came as business associates said he had “probably accomplished one of the biggest comebacks in Hollywood history” with his US court win. The Pirates of the Caribbean icon, 58, who told fans he was “still in shock a little” over his victory, can now continue his Hollywood career with his reputation intact, insiders close to the star said.
Depp seemed sunk after losing his 2020 libel case against The Sun, which accused him of abusing Amber Heard, 36, during their tempestuous marriage that lasted less than two years.
His appeal bid was blocked by a judge who found he had “no real prospect of success”, while US legal experts warned he could expect little to no chance of winning if he tried to sue her in America over an article she wrote in the Washington Post claiming to be a victim of domestic violence.
But last week the actor emerged victorious after six weeks of bombshell testimony during a civil jury trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, that was live-streamed around the world.
Heard, who plans to appeal, was ordered to pay damages. But a source close to the star said that, much more importantly to him, the verdict means he has been fully vindicated.
“Johnny is a good man, a man of principle, and the world got to see that. Seven independent people on a jury have now been able to give their verdict on who he is as well. That is on the record and now part of history.”
Depp’s friends said the UK High Court ruling had played a key part in his decision to sue in America, and one said: “Johnny did not want the verdict in the UK court to define his life.
“He surprised people by then continuing to seek justice via America… and that brave decision has now been vindicated.”
Depp was not in court for the verdict, having flown to Britain and turning up on stage in Gateshead with guitar legend Jeff Beck.
A former business associate of the actor – whose rock band Hollywood Vampires are due to tour Europe this summer – said: “Johnny was devastated at being booted from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates franchise after losing to Amber in London and seeing his reputation shredded.
“Nobody gave him a chance against her in America, where it is much more difficult to prevail in a libel case. But he has done – and in the process he’s probably accomplished one of the biggest comebacks in Hollywood history.”
Depp has said he hopes to focus on deeper roles in art-house films rather than big-budget blockbusters, but his ex-business partner said: “I think studios are going to be falling over themselves to offer him new projects.”
Heard, meanwhile, faces career ruin after her testimony was disbelieved by the jury as well as public hostility that included death threats during the trial. Her attorney said she will appeal but admitted she “cannot afford” to pay the damages award to her ex-husband.
On Friday, Depp was mobbed by fans in Glasgow as he ended a week of performances.
He took to a stage with Jeff Beck for the fifth time, having recently played in Sheffield and London, as well as Gateshead.
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