Johnny Depp Allowed by Judge to Proceed with $50 Million Defamation Suit Against Amber Heard

Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate denied Amber Heard’s motion to dismiss Johnny Depp’s lawsuit following his loss in a libel case against The Sun in the United Kingdom for labeling him a “wife-beater.” Johnny Depp has been granted permission by the Judge to pursue his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard.

According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday, a Virginia Judge gave Depp the right to pursue his claim, denying Heard’s supplementary motion to dismiss the case following Depp’s defeat in a libel lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun. The actor, 58, is suing his ex-wife over an op-ed she penned in the Washington Post in 2018 on surviving domestic violence.

Heard’s motion to dismiss Depp’s complaint, which was filed in Virginia in March 2019, came as the actress contended that the decision in the United Kingdom should preempt the proceedings in the United States, as both actions revolve on allegations of the actor abusing women.

The Judge dismissed the actress’s petition, stating that while Heard’s op-ed and The Sun’s article both dealt with allegations of abuse, the tabloid’s comments and Heard’s in her op-ed were “inherently different.”

“[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 wrote 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.”

Azcarate also added that Heard was not included as a defendant in Depp’s case against The Sun because her op-ed was published after he sued.

Three months after the article was published, Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the actress. Depp’s lawyers stated in the complaint at the time, “Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard. 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 and Depp’s representatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment from PEOPLE.