Johnny Depp Scores Legal Coup as Charity to Reveal if Amber Heard Acted On Divorce Settlement Pledge
Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard pledged to donate her $7mln (£5mln) divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after the couple split in 2016.
In a new twist to the convoluted legal saga between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, a New York judge has partially granted a petition by the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s legal team to find out whether the actress has followed through with her divorce settlement pledge, reported USA Today.
Aquaman star Heard had pledged to donate the sum, worth $7mln (£5mln) to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after the couple split in 2016. The ACLU is now to release documents that confirm whether or not Heard was true to her word.
Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew said in a statement, cited by the outlet that his client was “most gratified” by the court’s decision.
‘Calculated, Manipulative Lie’
Johnny Depp’s lawyers have alleged that not only was Amber Heard lying about donating the divorce settlement proceeds to charity, but the much-touted pledge may have ultimately “tipped the scales against Mr. Depp from the very beginning” in his libel case against British newspaper The Sun in November 2020.
The lawsuit, which Depp lost, was prompted by a 2018 headline in the outlet that labelled him a “wife beater” after Heard accused the actor of abuse in Los Angeles in 2016.
© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinUS Actress Amber Heard, former wife of actor Johnny Depp, arrives at the High Court in London, Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
US Actress Amber Heard, former wife of actor Johnny Depp, arrives at the High Court in London, Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein
At the time, the couple had reached the end of their brief spousal run. In a statement on 26 February, Heard stated:
“I remained financially independent from him [Depp] the whole time we were together and the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity.”
When making a ruling in the libel case in favour of The Sun, Judge Andrew Nichol had cited the generous pledge, commenting that the “donation of the $7 million to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold digger”.
In March, Depp was refused an appeal, with his attorney Andrew Caldecott arguing that Heard’s pledge to donate money to the charities was a “calculated and manipulative lie”, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles had confirmed to the actor’s business adviser in 2019 that no payments had been made.
© AP Photo / Kirsty O'ConnorActor Johnny Depp leaves the High Court in London, Wednesday July 15, 2020
Actor Johnny Depp leaves the High Court in London, Wednesday July 15, 2020
© AP Photo / Kirsty O'Connor
However, lawyers for the outlet’s publisher rejected the arguments in court in March. According to them, Heard had pledged the donations would be made over a span of 10 years. Furthermore, she had made “a number of payments already in pursuance of these pledges," said Adam Wolanski, a legal representative for News Group Newspapers.
Depp vs Heard
The recent High Court ruling followed a three-week trial in July, during which both ex-spouses took the stand.
The judge ruled that "the great majority" of Heard's claims of abuse, described by The Sun, were mostly true. Further court proceedings will now take place in Virginia in connection with a separate $50 million defamation case launched by the American actor, producer, and musician.
It centres on a December op-ed in The Washington Post, whose printing presses are located in Virginia, where Amber Heard published a column in December 2018, proclaiming herself a victim of domestic abuse and suggesting, without actually using his name, that Depp was the abuser.
Depp filed a lawsuit in Fairfax County accusing his ex-wife of "hoax" allegations of domestic abuse and “staged” injuries. He also accused Heard of committing acts of domestic violence against him, which in some instances caused him bodily injury.
© Photo : Amber Heard/High CourtAmber Heard has been accused of fabricating her injuries
Amber Heard has been accused of fabricating her injuries
© Photo : Amber Heard/High Court
After Johnny Depp’s artistic career took a hit from the legal woes and he was removed from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, loyal fans organised a petition for Amber Heard to get a taste of the same. A petition was launched for Heard to be dropped from her role as Aquaman’s love interest Hera in the forthcoming movie Aquaman 2.
© AP Photo / Vianney Le CaerActress Amber Heard poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018
Actress Amber Heard poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018
© AP Photo / Vianney Le Caer
The petition received more than a million signatures, with fans accusing Heard of a “systematic crusade to ruin Depp in Hollywood”. However, Aquaman producer Peter Safran recently responded to the speculations on the Deadline Hero Nation podcast, saying:
“I don’t think we’re ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure. You gotta do what’s best for the movie. We felt that if it’s James Wan, and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That’s really what it was.”