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Amanda Knox’s $3.8M from Her Book Deal Went to Pay Off Loans and Legal Fees from Her Italy Ordeal

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In the small, rented Seattle home that Amanda Knox shares with her poet-novelist partner and three cats, small circles of blue paper taped to the wall above the couple’s side-by-side computers catalog their future projects together.

Knox, 30, who is now six years removed from the Italian prison where she spent four years before her conviction was overturned in the murder of her study-abroad roommate in 2007, calls them “our balls in the air.”

One bears the words, “Lady Justice,” the title of Knox’s next book, which she describes as “part memoir, part investigative journalism, looking at the greater forces that affected me as a woman going through the criminal justice system.”

Another ball is scribbled in magic marker with the words “Wrongful Conviction (TV Show),” referencing their idea for a reality-TV project about people caricatured by the media.

Above the balls are taped two blue stars. One reads “House,” the other, “Baby.”

“We can’t afford either one right now,” says Knox’s boyfriend, Christopher Robinson, who recently sat with her to discuss their life now for this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “They seem impossible dreams. People just assume Amanda must be wealthy because she wrote a book,” her New York Times-bestselling memoir, Waiting to Be Heard.

“But that $3.8 million is long gone,” Robinson explains. “She paid back her parents and grandma, who took out mortgages to move to Italy during her case and pay her lawyers. And she still has massive legal bills. She has a lawyer in Italy taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that Italy violated her rights and owes her compensation.”

• For more on Knox’s post-prison life and her plans for the future, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.

Amanda Knox at her home in Seattle

There is also, Robinson says, an appeal to overturn Knox’s conviction for slander tied to her prosecution for the stabbing murder of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy.

Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were twice found guilty of Kercher’s killing, and Knox’s eight-year legal odyssey hung over her head until 2015, when Italy’s highest court exonerated them.

The case and the media’s role in shaping perceptions of the participants is explored, with Knox’s participation, in the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary Amanda Knox.

“People also think she gets paid every time she does an interview,” says Robinson. “But she doesn’t. She got zero dollars for participating in the documentary. And that’s the way it should be. But most people don’t know that.”

• Watch the full episode of People Features: Amanda Knox — My Life After Prison, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN or download the app on your favorite streaming device.

RELATED VIDEO: Why Amanda Knox Is Returning to Italy for the First Time since Her Exoneration for Murder

Now a writer and emerging activist for those facing wrongful convictions, Knox at least was able to help pay college tuition for her younger sister Deanna, 28, who interrupted school to move to Italy with her family during Knox’s long legal ordeal.

But as the couple considers their own future, they are agreed that any plans to marry are on hold until after Deanna’s wedding in November. “This is Deanne’s moment,” Robinson says.

Knox is not counting on winning any financial settlement with Italian authorities, her boyfriend says.

“If her record gets definitively clear on the slander charge, she would be happy about that,” he says, “but she’s written off the possibility of compensation for the years of her life taken away. She just assumes she’s never going to get that.”

Knox instead is keeping her gaze fixed forward. “Right now,” she tells PEOPLE, “I have an incredibly blessed life.”