Two weeks after a jury in Fairfax, Va., ruled that Heard, 36, had defamed Depp, 58, the Aquaman actor appeared on NBC’s Today Show, where she was interviewed by Savannah Guthrie.
In the interview, Guthrie asked Heard about the jury’s decision to find her 2018 Washington Post op-ed — in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse” — defamatory. The jury declared a split verdict, awarding Depp US$10 million in damages (plus $350,000 in punitive damages) and Heard a partial win of $2 million.
Guthrie asked Heard if she was “nervous” about what she could and could not say in the interview.
“Of course,” Heard responded. “I took for granted what I assumed was my right to speak.”
Heard added that she was “scared” Depp would continue to pursue legal action against her.
“No matter what I say, or how I say it, every step that I take will present another opportunity for this sort of silencing,” she said. “Which is what, I guess, a defamation lawsuit is meant to do.”
‘The op-ed wasn’t about Johnny’
Heard claimed in the interview — and in court — that the Washington Post op-ed, written two years after their divorce, was not about her former A-list husband.
The op-ed never mentioned Depp by name.
“What the op-ed was about was me loaning my voice to a bigger cultural conversation that we were having at the time,” Heard said, referring to the #MeToo movement.
“It was important for me not to make it about him, or to do anything like defame him,” she added, saying she had “teams of lawyers” read over the article drafts before it was published.
When asked if she wanted Depp to be “cancelled,” like other powerful men were a result of the #MeToo movement, Heard vehemently denied this.
‘I didn’t want this to be known’
Heard said the reason she never told police about the alleged domestic violence at the hands of Depp was that she “didn’t want to co-operate with them.”
“I didn’t want this to be out,” she said. “I didn’t want to get him in trouble.”
She said despite her unwillingness to co-operate with police, she eventually decided to file for a temporary restraining order against Depp.
“You can’t get a restraining order in private, which of course I didn’t understand the night when the cops are called,” she said.
She denied ever tipping off TMZ to when she would be filing for the restraining order, contrary to what a TMZ employee testified in court.
The $7-million pledge
Guthrie asked Heard about her $7-million charity pledge that was part of her divorce settlement with Depp. The pledge was a focal point in the defamation trial, as it was revealed Heard had yet to donate the full amount. In court, Heard testified she uses the words ‘donate’ and ‘pledge’ interchangeably.
“I made a pledge and that pledge is made over time, by its nature,” Heard said.
“I feel like so much of the trial was meant to cast aspersions on who I am as a human, my credibility, to call me a liar in every way you can,” she said, interrupted by Guthrie, who said that was precisely what the trial was.
Guthrie called the trial a “credibility contest.”
“I shouldn’t have had to have donated it in an effort to be believed,” Heard said, referring to the $7-million pledge.
The actor claimed she still plans to honour the pledge.
‘I’m not a good victim’
Many graphic and disturbing text messages from Depp to friends (including Marvel WandaVision star Paul Bettany) and employees were read aloud in court.
Guthrie asked Heard about one such text where Depp promised “total global humiliation” for Heard. Guthrie asked the actor if she felt her ex-husband was successful.
Taking a deep breath, Heard replied, “I know he promised it.”
“I testified to this. I’m not a good victim,” she said.
“But when I testified I asked the jury to see me as human and hear his own words, which is a promise to do this. It feels as though he has.”
‘I love him’
During the trial, Heard told the court, “I still have love for Johnny.”
When Guthrie asked the actor if this was still true, Heard said it was.
“After everything?” Guthrie questioned.
“Absolutely,” Heard replied quickly. “I love him. I loved him with all my heart, and I tried the best I could to make a deeply broken relationship work.
“I have no bad feelings or ill will towards him at all.”
‘I did the right thing’
When asked about the future, Heard said she was excited about being a mom. Heard’s daughter, Oonagh Paige Heard, is one year old.
“I get to be a mom, like, full-time,” Heard said with a smile.
Guthrie asked if and how Heard would tell her daughter about the defamation trial in the future.
“I think no matter what it will mean something,” Heard said. “I did the right thing. I did everything I could to stand up for myself and the truth.”
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