Litigated divorces can be ugly affairs. With the emotional turmoil of a failed relationship, spouses can act in highly illogical and problematic ways. This may translate into numerous accusations hurled back and forth – often without any basis in reality. But can these accusations lead to defamation lawsuits? After making baseless accusations during divorce proceedings, many spouses are dismayed to learn the answer to this somewhat common question. 

Pastor Wins $2.1 Million after Post-Divorce Defamation Lawsuit

On December 29, 2023, it was reported that a pastor had won $2.1 million after a successful defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife. The pair divorced back in 2011, and in 2014, the pastor petitioned to modify the child custody agreements. In his petition, the pastor explained that his ex-wife had been publicly referring to him as a known pedophile. To support these claims, the pastor pointed to a total of 13 documented instances – including an official complaint to Child Protective Services. In this complaint, the ex-wife explained that her ex-husband was actively “involved with child pornography.” 

Other claims were made on the official online blog of the pastor’s church. Finally, she made similar claims to their child’s pediatrician. Despite a number of rumors (primarily spread by the ex-wife), there was no real evidence that the pastor had ever been convicted of (or suspected of) child abuse of any kind.

Reality TV Star Files Defamation Suit After Ex-Wife Posts Bruises Online

On December 1, 2023, it was reported that a reality TV star called Lenny Hochstein had filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Lisa Hochstein. Both figures are best known for their roles on the reality TV show Real Housewives of Miami. The basis of the lawsuit seems to be a photo that Lisa posted of a bruise on her arm. She heavily implied that she had suffered the bruise due to domestic abuse committed by her ex-husband. 

However, Lenny admits that the injury did occur during a domestic incident. According to him, his ex-wife suffered a bruise while falling down a set of stairs while they were having an argument. Lenny explained, “As I tried to walk upstairs, she walked ahead of me, for some reason she decided to walk backwards on the staircase so she could continue to yell at me to my face. She fell and landed on her left upper arm. I have never physically, abused, Lisa, or any woman for that matter in my life. I am against all forms of violence, especially against women.” He is seeking $50,000 in damages. 

Amber Heard’s Legendary Defamation Lawsuit

Perhaps the most well-known defamation lawsuit of the modern era involved Hollywood superstars Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. When Heard made defamatory statements in an op-ed for The Washington Post, Depp sued and won a $10 million jury award after a memorable six-week trial. 

These stories show that legal issues surrounding divorce can continue long after the divorce itself has been resolved – and such issues are becoming increasingly common in the modern era.