Justice Michael Wigney ruled in a federal government in Sydney on Thursday that Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper was "extravagant and ruthless" in reporting that Rush abused a co-star during a 2015 scenography of "King Lear".
"This was a ruthlessly irresponsible piece of sensational journalism of the worst kind," said Wigney about two articles published on Rush in 2017.
Rush is famous for his roles in film franchises, including "Pirates of the Caribbean" and in award-winning films such as "King's Speech". He won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1997 for his portrayal of David Helfgott in "Shine."
The actor could get a much larger sum in a follow-up debate on May 10, after the judge found that Daily Telegraph's reporting caused Rush financial losses that would continue into the future.
Rush claimed that he might have lost more than $ 3.5 million in earnings between the time of publication and the beginning of the trial.
The 2017 article reported that Rush had touched his co-star chest and back, followed her into a bathroom and sent her an inappropriate text message. Rush denies all claims.