Actor Amber Heard, in her first sit-down interview after a jury unanimously concluded that she defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp, criticized the role that she believes social media played in her trial, calling it unfair but saying she doesn’t blame the jury.
“I actually understand,” she told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie in a clip that aired Monday. “He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”
Heard was sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 opinion piece she published in The Washington Post about, in her words, becoming a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The essay did not mention Depp by name but his attorneys argued that it indirectly referred to their marriage.
Throughout the trial, jurors were instructed to stay off social media and not read related news coverage. They were not sequestered, however, and so Heard’s attorneys, without supporting evidence, have insisted that the jury was undoubtedly influenced by the posts and videos that flooded social media with hashtags like #justiceforjohnnydepp and #amberheardisguilty.
Heard, who plans to appeal the verdict, emphasized this.
“Even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t tell me — look me in the eye and tell me — that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation,” she told Guthrie. “You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
Guthrie reminded Heard that the jury ultimately did not believe the evidence her attorneys presented or her testimony. Heard suggested that efforts to paint her as non-credible blinded the jury.
“How could they [believe me] after listening to three and a half weeks of testimony about how I was a non-credible person. Not to believe a word that came out of my mouth,” she said.
Depp’s attorneys have denied that social media played any role in the jury’s decision, insisting that the jury came to its decision through the evidence presented.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath,” attorney Ben Chew said in a previous interview with Guthrie. “This was a decision made by the jury on the evidence presented by both sides.”
More of Heard’s interview with Guthrie is scheduled to air on Tuesday and Wednesday on NBC’s “Today.” An hourlong special will air Friday on “Dateline NBC” at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CT.