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Johnny Depp Allowed To Move Ahead With $50 Million Lawsuit Against Amber Heard

Johnny Depp Allowed To Move Ahead With $50 Million Lawsuit Against Amber Heard

The 58-year-old actor is suing his ex-wife over a 2018 op-ed

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

A judge has allowed Johnny Depp to move ahead with his $50 million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. This is the latest development in a long and contentious legal battle between the two actors

PEOPLE reports that the 58-year-old actor is suing Heard over a 2018 piece published in The Washington Post in which Heard wrote about her experiences with domestic violence. Depp is not mentioned by name in this feature, however Heard would later accuse the actor of domestic violence. Depp has denied these claims.

According to court documents, a a Virginia judge has granted Depp's request to move ahead with the lawsuit. Heard had attempted to have the case dismissed after Depp lost his UK libel lawsuit against The Sun newspaper last year. The UK tabloid had referred to Depp as a "wife beater" in 2018, a statement which the actor contested in court. Eventually, a High Court judge ruled the claim was "substantially true," and that he "did assault Ms. Heard".

Pirates Of The Caribbean /

Heard's plea to dismiss Depp's lawsuit was filed back in March 2019. She argued that the UK's judgment on The Sun case should inform the proceedings in the US as both lawsuits hinge on the allegations that Depp is an abuser.

But Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate has rejected the actress's plea, on the basis that the statements made in Heard's op-ed are "inherently different" to the ones made by The Sun.

"[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 explained 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."

Amber Heard Via Instagram

Depp filed the lawsuit against Heard three months after the publication of the op-ed. "Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard," the actor's lawyers said in a statement at the time. "Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016. They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career."

Heard's team hit back in their own statement, arguing: "this frivolous action is just the latest of Johnny Depp's repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard. She will not be silenced. Mr. Depp's actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behavior. But while he appears hell-bent on achieving self-destruction, we will prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit and ending the continued vile harassment of my client by Mr. Depp and his legal team."

In the years since the start of Depp and Heard's contentious legal battle, the former has lost various roles. Most notably, he was removed from his role as Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald by Warner Bros. from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Meanwhile, Amber Heard will appear as Mera once again in the in-production Aquaman sequel, despite protests.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Topics: GAMING, News