What future for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard? Experts weigh in | Way of life

The script for the last part of this saga has not yet been written.

With their bitter, controversial and often graphic six-week libel lawsuit behind them, fans are wondering what’s next for former Hollywood couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Gawkers around the world tuned in as Depp and Heard threw accusations at each other, ranging from sexual assault to drug addiction to bed defecation.

A jury ruled in a Virginia court on Wednesday that Heard, 36, defamed Depp, 58, and should be awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which were lowered by the judge to a total of $10.35 million from the punitive damages. are capped in this state. The lawsuit stems from Heard writing a Washington Post opinion piece implicating him as a domestic abuser, but not naming him.

The same seven-member jury awarded Heard $2 million from her countersuit, agreeing that one of Depp’s attorneys defamed her by calling her claims a hoax.

While Heard’s lawyer said the actress would appeal, the information shared in that lawsuit — as well as a libel suit Depp brought in 2020 against a British tabloid where jurors sided with Heard — left a bad taste in the mouths of many.

The careers of the two actors will ultimately be decided in the court of public opinion. Will audiences flock to theaters again to see Depp play popular children’s hero Captain Jack Sparrow in the highly lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” films? Can Heard reprise her role as Queen Mera in the ‘Aquaman’ superhero franchise?

As Depp thanked jurors for giving him ‘his life’ back after the verdict, crisis consultant Ryan McCormick, a partner at New York-based firm Goldman McCormick, said Depp had work to do if he hoped to be reunited. the life he once knew. . But according to McCormick, the road ahead for Heard is much more difficult.

“The ultimate loser in this case is Amber Heard,” he said.

McCormick feels there is no doubt that Depp made his point more effectively at trial and believes Heard encountered “nastiness” in his claims.

“I think his career is definitely damaged,” he said. “That doesn’t mean Johnny Depp will get back to where he was, but he at least has a chance.”

The PR professional notes that 4.5 million people have signed an online petition launched during the trial to stop Heard from being cast in an “Aquaman” sequel. McCormick said he would recommend Heard start a podcast where she talks about issues important to women and maybe start a foundation in that vein. A potential pitfall, he said, is that Heard could face legal trouble again if she comes forward as a victim of domestic violence.

Depp, McCormick said, could consider making independent films that show off the acting chops that helped amass a huge fan base over several decades. He thinks it will be around five years before he knows if the Golden Globe winner can become a superstar again. Bringing the lawsuit against his ex-wife seemed like an important first step.

“Johnny Depp needed to do this,” he said. “Recovering a thread of credibility was very important to him.”

McCormick said that, as Depp’s fanbase shows and his jury verdict confirmed, people tend to find “The Lone Ranger” actor relatable.

“If Hollywood thinks he’s still bankable, they’ll put him in movies,” he said.

Depp’s agent testified that his client had to work for less money than he was worth after Heard’s article and a pending $22.5 million deal to do a sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” with Disney had collapsed following his claims. Heard’s team argued that it was Depp’s behavior – not anything their client did – that prevented this deal from moving forward.

Beverly Hills entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian thinks Depp came out nuts, but more, and finds it impressive that he’s triumphed in a court system where libel claims are hard for celebrities to successfully defend. According to Ahouraian, the audience boiled down to which actor gave the best performance.

“Depp, on the witness stand, came across as likeable, engaging and genuine. He admitted his flaws and held himself fully accountable, but refused to be accused of anything he claimed he didn’t. didn’t, and it earned her points, both from the public and from the jury,” Ahouraian told the Daily News. “Heard, on the other hand, came off as unconvincing and her credibility was put to the test. test several times. In other words, the jury didn’t believe her.

Ahouraian thinks the “toxic” social media backlash against Heard will be of no use as she seeks to find new roles. This, according to the showbiz lawyer, poses another problem.

“It’s hard to imagine how Amber Heard, given the millions of dollars in legal fees she’s already paid, will be able to pay Depp the damages awarded by the jury,” Ahouraian said. “She made $1 million with the first ‘Aquaman’ movie, and it was her biggest role yet.”

Ahourian said a Hollywood ending was not out of the question for Depp, who CelebrityNetWorth.com estimated at $150 million.

“What would be an interesting plot twist is if he rejected the money, or accepted it and donated it to charity,” she said.

Heard pledged to donate Depp’s $7 million settlement after their 2016 divorce to various causes, but claimed Depp’s lawsuit hampered those commitments. CelebrityNetWorth.com now estimates Heard’s worth at minus $6 million.

West Coast publicist Steve Allen starred with Depp in a 1989 episode of the crime show “21 Jump Street.” He thinks Heard and Depp, who “won — whatever that means,” will both cash in professionally if they connect with the fanbases who cheered them on during the trial. Allen said Depp’s victory on the jury does not mean 100% of the public supported him.

“It’s 60-40, maybe 65-35,” he said. “Each of us is a ‘jury member’.”

He also thinks a movie about “the best trial in America” ​​is almost inevitable.

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