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20th Dec 2022

Johnny Depp to donate $1 million Amber Heard settlement to several charities

Steve Hopkins

Heard earlier claimed she would give her divorce settlement to charities – but later admitted she hadn’t.

Johnny Depp is set to donate the $1 million settlement from Amber Heard that concludes their long-running defamation proceedings to charity, his attorneys have said.

According to a report by People, the 59-year-old will donate the payment to several different charities. Heard agreed to the settlement, to be covered by her insurance company, but has said it is not an “admission” or “concession”.

“We are pleased to formally close the door on this painful chapter for Mr. Depp, who made clear throughout this process that his priority was about bringing the truth to light,” Depp’s attorneys Benjamin Chew and Camille Vazquez wrote in a statement on Monday, shortly after Heard announced that a settlement had been reached.

“The jury’s unanimous decision and the resulting judgement in Mr. Depp’s favour against Ms. Heard remain fully in place,” the attorneys continued.

“The payment of $1M – which Mr. Depp is pledging and will (actually) donate to charities – reinforces Ms. Heard’s acknowledgement of the conclusion of the legal system’s rigorous pursuit for justice.”

The settlement brings to a close one of the most high profile celebrity cases in Hollywood history.

The matter was heard for six weeks in Fairfax, Virginia, before concluding, in part, in June. Multiple appeals have been launched since then. And before the defamation verdict was reached, in November 2020, Depp lost a libel case against the Sun over an article that called him a “wife beater”.

While no formal paperwork appears to have been filed in the Virginia court dockets, it appears that the agreement between Depp and Heard, 36, ends both parties’ appeals claims, Deadline reported.

However, it appears that the judgment delivered against the actress on 1 June still stands and could be enforced if she publicly repeats the same statements of alleged defamation against Depp that her ex-husband initially sued over in March 2019, the publication suggested.

In a statement shared on Instagram, Heard said she had made “a very difficult decision” to settle the case, just weeks after she appealed the defamation verdict demanding a reversal or new trial and saying the outcome has a “chilling effect” on women speaking out.

“It’s important for me to say that I never chose this,” said Heard.

“I defended my truth in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed. The vilification I have faced on social media is an amplified version of the ways women are re-victimised when they come forward.”

“Now I finally have an opportunity to emancipate myself from something I attempted to leave over six years ago and on terms I can agree to.”

Heard added, “I have made no admission [of guilt]. This is not an act of concession” and stressed that the settlement placed no restrictions or gags on what she could say “moving forward”.

The Aquaman actress also said she had “lost faith in the American legal system”, but explained how she cannot afford to risk the financial, psychological, physical, and emotional toll future courtroom proceedings may have on her.

“Women shouldn’t have to face abuse or bankruptcy for speaking her truth, but unfortunately it is not uncommon,” she said.

“I will not be threatened, disheartened or dissuaded by what happened from speaking the truth. No one can and no one will take that from me. My voice forever remains the most valuable asset I have.”

Depp sued Amber Heard over an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post in 2018 which did not name him, but which he believed suggested he had abused her.

The article was entitled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The jury unanimously found in favour of Depp, and Heard was ordered to pay Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, later reduced to $350,000.

Heard was awarded $2 million.