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16th Jun 2022

Amber Heard still plans to donate $7m to charity even though she can’t afford to pay Johnny Depp

Steve Hopkins

Heard is also said to be unable to pay Depp damages

Amber Heard has reiterated her intention to donate the $7 million settlement from her divorce from Johnny Depp to charity even though she can’t afford to pay him $10.35 for his defamation win.

And, even though, she previously claimed to have already made the payments.

During Depp’s six-week defamation case against Heard she admitted that she had not followed through with her pledge to donate money to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Heard told the Today show in her first interview since the case concluded last month: “I made a pledge, and that pledge is made over time by its nature.”

The 36-year-old added to Today’s Savannah Guthrie that she still plans to make the payments. Guthrie earlier asked the actress: “You had promised to donate the $7 million of your divorce settlement to charity. It was revealed at trial that you haven’t done so yet [but] they played a tape where you [said you had]. Do you think that raised questions as to your credibility with the jury?”

“When you said ‘I donated,’ you know that everybody thinks you’ve donated it, not that you’ve pledged it,” Guthrie explained, adding: “So for the jurors sitting there, do you think they felt like that was you getting caught in a lie?”

Heard replied: “I don’t know, because I feel like so much of the trial was meant to cast dispersions on who I am as a human, my credibility, to call me a liar in every way you can.”

During the defamation proceedings, Heard claimed that Depp’s defamation proceedings had prevented her from fulfilling her pledge, saying: “I would love him to stop suing me so I can.”

Depp and Heard reached a divorce settlement in August 2016. The same month, Heard said the entire sum was “being donated,” adding, “This is over and above any funds that I have given away in the past and will continue to give away in the future.”

Terence Dougherty, chief operating officer of ACLU, told the defamation trial that by December 2021 – the time he recorded his deposition – the union had only received $1.3 million in Heard’s name.

When payments stopped coming in 2018, the ACLU reached out to Heard in 2019 about future instalments. Dougherty said the union then “learned she was having financial difficulties”.


Earlier this month, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor won all three defamation claims against Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post about coming forward with domestic-abuse allegations.

The jury awarded Depp $15 million in damages but the Aquaman 2 actress will only have to pay $10.35 million due to a Virginia law capping punitive damages (the judge reduced the amount).

Depp was found to have also defamed Heard, and ordered to pay her $2 million in damages.

Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft previously told the Today show that Heard could not afford to pay Depp, saying, “Oh, no, absolutely not.”

Bredehoft added that her client planned to appeal the verdict.

Six days later, Depp’s lawyers Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew appeared on Good Morning America, where Chew told George Stephanopoulos that his client was only interested in “restoring his reputation” during the trial, “the goal is not to impoverish Ms. Heard”.

Chew was pressed on whether Depp may waive damages in exchange for Heard not appealing, but said he was unable to comment.

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