09:57 GMT21 January 2021
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    Hollywood star Amber Heard received a seven-figure sum as a part of her divorce settlement with Johnny Depp that had been reached in 2017. The actress publicly promised to “split” the money between the Children's Hospital LA and a human rights organisation.

    Johnny Depp’s legal team maintains that Amber Heard’s pledge to give $7m of her divorce settlement to charity was a “sham” as she eventually pocketed the funds, deceiving the public about her kind-hearted gesture, the Daily Mail reveals.

    When the couple split in 2016 – the divorce was finalised a year later – Hearn promised to divide the cash she received from Depp between the Children's Hospital Los Angeles and American Civil Liberties Union. The decision was cheered by many back in 2016 and later Judge Andrew Nichol cited the gesture when ruling in The Sun’s (and effectively Heard’s) favour during Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against the publisher of the British tabloid, which referred to him as a “wife beater” in a 2018 article.

    The actor maintains that he did not abuse Heard and was himself a victim of her violence, but eventually lost the case. Depp also dubbed his ex-spouse a “gold-digger" during the trail. 

    During a hearing in a UK court on 26 February, 2020, Heard said that she had been “financially independent” from the Pirates of the Caribbean star throughout their marriage and donated “the entire amount” of her divorce settlement to charity.

    This argument convinced the judge that Heard was telling the truth: “Her donation of the $7 million to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger,” Andrew Nichol ruled.

    But Depp’s legal team, which is appealing the British High Court decision, has spent the last year trying to prove that Heard lied about donating the money to good causes and pocketed it herself instead.  

    Actor Johnny Depp leaves the High Court in London, Wednesday July 15, 2020
    © AP Photo / Kirsty O'Connor
    Actor Johnny Depp leaves the High Court in London, Wednesday July 15, 2020

    The documents exclusively obtained and published by the Daily Mail reveal that the LA Children’s Hospital did indeed receive $100,000 in the name of Amber Heard back in August 2016.

    Certified public accountant Edward L. White wrote in a letter cited by the media that the donation – signed by John C. Depp – was “the first of multiple scheduled instalments to honour the full amount of Ms. Heard’s $3,500,000 pledged gift.”

    The newspaper says that another two instalments, $500,000 and $250,000 each, received by the hospital in 2017 and 2018 respectively, were also made in “honour of Amber Heard.”

    However, the Daily Mail has also published an alleged letter from the hospital’s Associate Senior Vice President Candie Davidson-Goldbronn, dated 26 June, 2019, claiming that no further donations, apart from the $100,000 check, have been received from the Rum Diary actress.

    “I am inquiring if you have knowledge if CHLA should expect further payment instalment(s) on your behalf or if the pledge will not be fulfilled,” the official apparently wrote. “I appreciate any insights on this matter.”

    The spokesman for the hospital has refused to answer the questions on the subject when contacted by the media, saying that “communications with a donor are confidential.” The American Civil Liberties Union have also been reluctant to discuss Heard’s intentions.

    Depp’s Legal Challenges

    According to the paper, the actress’ attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said that Heard “has already been responsible for seven figures in donations to charitable causes” and was planning to fulfil her $7m pledge “eventually,” without specifying how much money has already been given to charity.

    Bredehoft also blamed her client’s ex-husband for the delay of donations, arguing that his legal skirmish with the actress has cost her millions in legal fees to battle his “false accusations.”

    However, Depp’s complaint against the ex-wife was only filed in March 2019, following her scandalous op-ed in the Washington Post that apparently portrayed him as an abuser. 

    His other libel suit against The Sun’s publisher for the “wife-beater” comment was also launched several years later after Heard’s 2016 promise to give money to charity.

    Cast member Johnny Depp and his actress wife Amber Heard arrive for the premiere of the British film Black Mass in London, Britain October 11, 2015.
    © REUTERS / Suzanne Plunkett/Files
    Cast member Johnny Depp and his actress wife Amber Heard arrive for the premiere of the British film "Black Mass" in London, Britain October 11, 2015.

    Depp and Heard met while shooting The Rum Diary together in 2011, eventually tying the knot in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce in 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against her ex-beau. Their break-up was finalised in 2017 with a $7 million settlement payment from Depp.

    The Oscar-winning actor later filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife after she published the Washington Post piece titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change.” The article did not refer to her former husband directly, but Depp maintains that it personally targeted him.

    After he lost the legal battle with the British published last year, which many have seen as a “practice” trial for his upcoming bout in the US court, the actor was asked to resign from his starring wizard role in Warner Bros' “Fantastic Beasts” series.

    defamation, United Kingdom, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, United States
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