Jury deliberations begin in Johnny Depp, Amber Heard defamation case

Mr. Depp, 58, sued his ex-wife for $50m (£40m) for an article she wrote in which she claims to be an abuse victim. Ms Heard, 36, counter-sued for $100m.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Jury deliberations in the high-profile defamation battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have begun after six weeks of trial in Virginia.

Mr. Depp, 58, sued his ex-wife for $50m (£40m) for an article she wrote in which she claims to be an abuse victim. Ms Heard, 36, counter-sued for $100m.

Mr. Depp's lawyer asked jurors to "hold Ms. Heard accountable for her 'lies'".

Ms. Heard's team, in turn, said it was Mr. Depp who is a bully and abuser, not to be trusted.

The jury of seven must come to a unanimous decision for a verdict. They began their deliberations shortly after both sides delivered their closing arguments.

Benjamin Rottenborn, a lawyer for Ms. Heard, reminded jurors of explicit text messages between Mr. Depp and his friends, telling them he wanted to visit harm his ex-wife.

"This is a window into the heart and mind of America's favorite pirate," Mr. Rottenborn said. "This is the real Johnny Depp."

Mr. Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez, in contrast, called Ms. Heard's allegations of abuse "wild, over the top, and implausible".

"There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp," Ms. Vasquez said, replaying an audio recording in which the actress admits to hitting her then-husband.

"Mr. Depp experienced persistent verbal, physical and emotional abuse by Ms. Heard," she said.

Friday's arguments echoed much of the past six weeks of trial, where both sides presented warring accounts of the former couple's five-year relationship.

Ms. Heard and her lawyers told the court of an erratic and cruel Mr. Depp, prone to drug and alcohol binges and violent behavior.

Taking the stand on Thursday, Ms. Heard became emotional as she told jurors of the "harassment, the humiliation, the campaign against me that's echoed every single day on social media and now in front of cameras, in this room".

Mr. Depp offered a starkly different picture, alleging that Ms. Heard was a volatile spouse who abused and demeaned him. On the stand, he told jurors his ex-wife had a "need" for conflict and violence and caused him bodily injury by severing the tip of one of his fingers.

The case stems from a 2018 op-ed written by Ms. Heard, in which she described her experience as a "public figure representing domestic abuse".

"I felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out," she wrote. "I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real-time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."

On Friday, Ms. Vasquez said the article amounted to a lie that had tarnished Mr. Depp's reputation - though the piece did not directly name him.

Ms. Heard's lawyer, Mr. Rottenborn, asked the jury to focus on Ms. Heard's words in the story when making their decision.

The case is "not about who's the better spouse," he said. "It's not about whether you think Ms. Heard may have been abusive to Mr. Depp".

"If you think they were both abusive to each other... then Amber wins," he said. "If Amber was abused even one time, then she wins".

Mr. Depp arrived Friday morning greeted by hundreds of screaming fans outside, as had happened most days of the trial.

The celebrity case - broadcast live every day - garnered intense public interest as both actors lobbed serious accusations of emotional, physical, and verbal abuse at the other.