Even though Johnny Depp lost his libel suit last year against the U.K. tabloid The Sun after the publication called him a “wife beater,” a Virginia judge has ruled that that ruling has no effect on a separate suit Depp is filing against his ex-wife Amber Heard in America.
Depp is currently suing Heard in Virginia for defamation, and filed the suit after Heard published an op-ed in the Washington Post about abusive men, which did not name Depp. After the U.K. ruling was handed down, Heard asked the Virginia court to recognize that ruling, since both lawsuits concern allegations that Depp is a domestic abuser, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The U.K. libel trial culminated in a 129-page decision based on 12 to 14 incidents of domestic violence, the evidence of which led London’s High Court to rule in favor of The Sun, who referred to Depp as a “wife beater” in a 2018 headline.
But the Virginia judge overseeing the suit disagrees, writing that the cases are different as “The Sun‘s interests were based on whether the statements the newspaper published were false,” but this case concerns “whether the statements [Heard] published were false.” The trial for the case is currently scheduled for early next year, THR reports.
Depp first filed his defamation suit, suing Heard for $50 million, in 2019. And it’s unsettling to see that it’s allowed to move forward, considering Heard did not mention Depp in her op-ed even by name and the fact that it was a much broader piece about abusers and the #MeToo movement. Depp argued that the piece “depends on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.” Heard initially sought to have the lawsuit dismissed, calling it “meritless bullying,” but was unsuccessful.