Johnny Depp’s team also portrayed the accusations as a hoax that Ms. Heard had constructed as an insurance policy in case the marriage broke down. “She was, according to this scenario, nothing more than a gold-digger,” Justice Nicol wrote in his ruling. “I do not accept this characterization of Ms. Heard,” he added, pointing out she had claimed to have given all of her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
“Her donation is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger,” the judge said.
Ms. Heard acknowledged having once hit Mr. Depp, but told the court that she had been trying to protect her sister, whom she thought the actor was about to push down some stairs. “I will never forget it, because it was the first time after all these years that I actually struck him back,” Ms. Heard said.
During the trial, Ms. Heard said that she could not understand Mr. Depp’s defense, or why anyone would accept it. “Johnny was twice my size and beat me up for five years,” she testified. “It seemed preposterous to me that he could or would ever think that his claims of victimhood were real or would work.”
After the ruling was issued on Monday, The Sun said in a statement, “Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced, and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”
Mr. Depp’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Ms. Heard, said the actress was “unable to comment on the case due to the ongoing U.S. proceedings.” But Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Ms. Heard’s American lawyer, said in a statement that the judgment was “not a surprise.”
“We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech,” Ms. Bredehoft said.