Amber Heard was honored at the fourth annual Unite4:Humanity gala on Friday for her humanitarian work with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — but had to leave the event before accepting the award.
The 30-year-old actress walked the red carpet at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel earlier in the night, posing for photographers in a pair of black pants and a white blouse with a black bow.
Inside the dining room of the hotel where guests sipped on Billionaires Row Champagne, she sat at a table with friends Cara Delevingne, photographer iO Tillett Wright and sister Whitney Heard – but appeared to be visibly upset about something.
“She walked to her table and looked as if she was about to cry,” an onlooker told PEOPLE. “And then she left her table with her sister and her publicist, walked back to a private room — leaving Cara behind at the table.”
Delevingne and Wright later took the stage to accept the award on her behalf. Wright explained Heard had left because of an emergency.
They then both took turns reading from Heard’s speech, which included praise for Somali-born Islam critic and former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali — who was slated to present the honor to Heard.
“As an activist and human, as someone who is intrinsically allergic to justice, I am humbled and honored to be here tonight among so many dedicated world-changers and real life heroes,” Wright read. “One of which is my hero, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has so graciously donated her time and energy to present this award to me. Having you here tonight is a gift for which I will forever ill equip to adequately pay back.”
“So she wants to thank everyone here tonight for their dedicated pursuit of justice and concentrated efforts for making this world a better place,” Delevingne said.
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Heard’s honor Friday came after the Aquaman actress promised to donate her $7 million divorce settlement from ex-husband Johnny Depp to her two favorite charities — the American Civil Liberties Union, with a focus on battling violence against women, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she has volunteered for 10 years.
“As described in the restraining order and divorce settlement, money played no role for me personally and never has, except to the extent that I could donate it to charity and, in doing so, hopefully help those less able to defend themselves,” Heard told PEOPLE in a statement at the time.
The actress added: “As reported in the media, the amount received in the divorce was $7 million and $7 million is being donated. This is over and above any funds that I have given away in the past and will continue to give away in the future.”
On Friday, Wright praised Amber for her support of the ACLU, E! News reported, saying Heard “went through one of the most publicized divorces of last decade probably, and all of her ‘winnings’ from that divorce, as many would’ve called it, because many pegged her as a gold digger, she donated to the ACLU.”
Unite4:humanity celebrates humanitarian efforts and philanthropists throughout the world. The organization’s mission is to promote positivity, inspire charitable engagement and empower acts of kindness and service in order to create a positive shift in our global society.
Other honorees this year included singer Paula Abdul, actor Wilmer Valderrama, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump, talk show host Leeza Gibbons, Shark Tank investor Kevin Harrison, Scorpion executive producer Walter O’Brien, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America co-founder Dr. Frank Shankwitz, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and New York-based Billionaires Row Champagne.