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Johnny Depp Proceeds With Defamation Lawsuit Against Amber Heard

Johnny Depp Proceeds With Defamation Lawsuit Against Amber Heard CREDIT: Getty Images

Johnny Depp has been allowed to move forward with his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard.

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The actor, 58, is suing his ex-wife over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed where Heard, 35, wrote about surviving domestic violence.

In court documents obtained on Tuesday by People News, a Virginia judge granted the actor the right to pursue his lawsuit, denying Heard’s supplemental plea to dismiss the case after Depp lost his U.K. libel lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun.

In November 2020, the Pirates of the Caribbean star lost his case against the British tabloid which called him a “wife-beater.” The court upheld the outlet’s claims as being “substantially true.”

Heard’s plea to dismiss Depp’s lawsuit, filed in Virginia in March 2019, came as the actress argued the U.K. judgment should hold sway on the proceedings in the U.S. since both lawsuits center on allegations of the actor as an abuser.

Instead, Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate rejected the actress’s plea, saying while Heard’s op-ed and The Sun’s article may be similar in that they related to claims of abuse, the statements made by the tabloid and Heard’s in her opinion and editorial 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 in the newspaper published were false. [Heard’s] interests relate to whether the statements she published were false.

Azcarate added Heard hadn’t been named a party in Depp’s lawsuit against The Sun because her op-ed was published after he sued the tabloid.

In her December 2018 op-ed, Heard wrote, “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

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