Two weeks after a Virginia jury ruled in favor of Johnny Depp a victory in his multi-million dollar defamation case against Amber Heard, the Aquaman actress is set to speak publicly for the first time since the verdict.
I’ve learned that Heard will appear in a one-hour primetime special on NBC on June 17 in a sit-down with Savannah Guthrie. The program will debut at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, after being heavily hyped and teased by the Comcast-owned network all week.
The highly anticipated interview with Heard took place on June 9 in New York City, amid strict security and secrecy.
The actress flew in from the Old Dominion just for the shoot and returned later that day to the DC area. to keep things under wraps, the interview was tactically not shot at NBC’s 30 Rock HQ, according to NBC news reports.
According to a source close to the matter, Heard spoke with the Today co-host about how she believes the jury’s verdict will affect free speech in America and other women coming out to talk about domestic abuse during the taping. She also talked about how the lurid six-week trial turned into a spectacle, with the self-styled “Deppford Wives” filling the courthouse both inside and outside.
Heard also informed Guthrie about the key distinctions she sees between Depp’s libel case against The Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom, which he lost in November 2020, and the legal struggle between the former couple and Rum Diary co-stars on this side of the Atlantic. Below is a video clip from the interview.
For the record, Depp lost his appeal in the UK libel case last year.
Heard’s lawyers have claimed she plans to appeal the ruling of $15 million (reduced to $10.4 million) in damages to Depp, which she won on only one of her counterclaims and was awarded $2 million in the conflicting June 1 verdict. Lawyers for both sides have been on network morning shows since the verdict, but neither Heard nor Depp has sat down formally in front of the cameras.
“Johnny Depp’s legal team blanketed the media for days after the verdict with numerous statements and interviews on television, and Depp himself did the same on social media,” a spokesperson for Heard told Deadline.
“Ms. Heard simply intended to respond to what they aggressively did last week; she did so by expressing her thoughts and feelings, much of which she was not allowed to do on the witness stand,” they added of the motivation behind the interview with Guthrie.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million in March 2019 over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed the actress wrote about becoming “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
In 2016, Heard and Depp split, with the former obtaining an uncontested temporary restraining order against the latter. Heard received a $7 million settlement as part of her divorce settlement, which she agreed to donate to charity and has only partially done.
Depp was also unable to publicly sue Heard for statements made about the couple’s relationship prior to the end of their short-lived marriage due to an arbitration clause in the divorce documents.
Despite the fact that the largely ACLU-written 2018 story in Jeff Bezos’s newspaper did not mention Depp by name, the former Pirates of the Caribbean star said it “devastated” his already declining career. Depp also claimed that Heard’s claims were false and that he was the one who was abused in the relationship.
Heard countersued Depp for $100 million in the summer of 2020 after repeatedly failing to get the defamation action dismissed or moved out of Virginia.
Both Depp and Heard issued statements directly and online almost immediately after the jury’s ruling was read out at the Fairfax County Courthouse earlier this month. A “heartbroken” Heard, who was in the courtroom for the decision, said the “disappointment I feel today is beyond words.”
On the other hand, a distinctly absent Depp, who was in the UK touring with Jeff Beck, proclaimed that “the jury gave me my life back.”
Heard will reprise her Mera role in Warner Bros.’ Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom, directed by James Wan. Depp has no studio gigs lined up at the moment. The superhero movie featuring Jason Momoa will be released on March 17, 2023.