Johnny Depp has been granted permission to move forward with his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
The 58-year-old actor is suing her over a December 2018 Washington Post op-ed where she wrote about surviving domestic violence, not naming Depp by name. However, she did accuse him of domestic violence amid their 2016 split, which he denied. Heard wrote at the time, “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
In court documents obtained by People yesterday (August 17), a Virginia judge granted the actor the right to pursue his lawsuit, denying 35-year-old Heard’s supplemental plea to dismiss the case after Depp lost his U.K. libel lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun.
Last November, The Sun called the Pirates of the Caribbean star a “wife-beater.” The court found their claims as being “substantially true.” Heard’s plea to dismiss 2019 Depp’s lawsuit came as the actress argued the U.K. judgment should hold with proceedings in the U.S. since both lawsuits center on allegations of Depp as an abuser.
However, Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate rejected the actress’s plea, saying that while aforementioned op-ed and U.K. ruling may be similar in the claims of abuse, the statements made by the respective parties were “inherently different.”
“[Heard] argues she was in privity with The Sun because they both had the same interest in the case. However, for privity to exist, [Heard’s] interest in the case must be so identical with The Sun‘s interest such that The Sun‘s representation of its interest is also a representation of [Heard’s] legal right,” Azcarate wrote in her ruling. “The Sun‘s interests were based on whether the statements the newspaper published were false. [Heard’s] interests relate to whether the statements she published were false.”