Heard filed a defamation lawsuit against the comedian in June after he accused her of blackmailing Depp and lying about the actor’s alleged domestic abuse in an article posted to his website, and later published by TheWrap.com.
Now, just three weeks after Heard and Depp reached a settlement in their divorce, PEOPLE confirms that the actress has dropped the defamation suit against Stanhope.
Stanhope’s attorney, David S. Gringas, tells PEOPLE that Heard and his client did not reach any agreement to settle the case. Furthermore, Gringas says that no money was exchanged between Heard and Stanhope, and that there is no confidential agreement between them. Gringas adds that he has not been in contact with Stanhope since the lawsuit was dropped, and says that given the comedian’s busy schedule, “I’d be surprised if he even knows anything about the conclusion of the case.”
According to the attorney, the dismissal “was negotiated as part of a larger deal between Ms. Heard and her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. Doug Stanhope is one of Johnny Depp’s closest friends, and it appears that Johnny was able to convince Amber to drop the lawsuit against Doug as part of a global resolution of their divorce.”
Gringas also notes that the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that Heard could re-file the lawsuit within one year of the date that Stanhope’s article was first published. “As far as we know, Ms. Heard has no plans to re-file the case against Mr. Stanhope, but that option remains available to her,” he explains.
In her initial court filing, Heard claimed that Stanhope “orchestrated a plot to write an article, which was published at TheWrap.com, which falsely accuses plaintiff Amber Heard of ‘blackmail’ and other criminal behavior towards her husband, Johnny Depp, from whom she is seeking a divorce.”
The actress called the claims “completely false and defamatory” and added that they have caused her “tremendous harm.” In a statement to PEOPLE, Heard’s lawyer, Charles J. Harder, had said that Heard planned to donate any potential jury awards to a domestic violence charity in Arizona.
In a subsequent interview with Howard Stern, Stanhope clarified his defense of Depp, who he alleged was “used, manipulated, set up,” by Heard.
“I put it on my website, the title was: ‘At A Loss For Words’ … whatever it was,” Stanhope explained. “The Wrap got it as an exclusive or however that worked and said ‘Amber Heard is Blackmailing Johnny Depp This is How I Know.’ I didn’t write that f—— title.” (Reps for The Wrap had not responded to requests for comment.)
Stanhope told Stern that Depp, a pal of his since 2013, did not put him up to penning his defense, but says he did receive thanks from the star when the essay made headlines.
“I had no contact with him until he texted me after that went out,” said Stanhope. “He said, ‘Hey, thanks for being honest.’ He didn’t know that was going out.”
Since she and Depp reached a settlement, Heard has been focused on making a fresh start in London, where is she working on her new film, Justice League.
“She wants a more positive focus on her,” a source told PEOPLE. “She is an actress and wants to just focus on work now. She loves living in London. She is excited about working there and spending time with friends.”