Amber Heard Hasn't Paid Full Pledge of Divorce Settlement Due to 'Financial Difficulties,' Says ACLU

Amber Heard said back in 2016 that she would donate the full $7 million divorce settlement she got from Johnny Depp to charity, half to the ACLU and half to Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Amber Heard has yet to pay her previously pledged $3.5 million donation from her divorce settlement, said Terence Dougherty, chief operating officer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In a pre-recorded deposition played in court Thursday, Dougherty testified that Heard, 36, promised to donate half of her $7 million settlement from her divorce from Johnny Depp to the ACLU, with the rest of the sum going to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

By the time of the deposition's recording in December 2021, the ACLU (which is a nonprofit dedicated to defending individuals' rights and liberties) had only received $1.3 million in her name, he said.

When payments stopped coming in by 2018, the ACLU reached out to Heard in 2019 about future installments, said Dougherty, who added, "We learned she was having financial difficulties."

Dougherty also added that ACLU lawyers helped draft and vet Heard's December 2018 Washington Post op-ed about surviving domestic abuse, which is at the center of the court case. Depp, 58, is suing Heard for defamation, though she didn't mention him by name in the article.

Heard has not yet taken the stand in this case, and lawyers for the Aquaman actress did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The pair met while making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary and later wed in February 2015. They broke up in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and they settled their divorce out of court in August 2016 (it was finalized in January 2017).

Actor Amber Heard arrives in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., . Actor Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse
Jim Lo Scalzo/AP/Shutterstock

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Upon coming to an agreement on their divorce, Depp and Heard issued a joint statement at the time, in which they said: "Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future. Amber will be donating financial proceeds from the divorce to a charity."

Soon after, Heard said in a statement that "the amount received in the divorce was $7 million and $7 million is being donated."

"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," she said at the time, adding that the amount she was pledging was "over and above any funds that I have given away in the past and will continue to give away in the future."

She added that her donation would be divided between a number of charities with "a particular focus to stop violence against women" as well as the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, which honored her for a seven-figure donation back in 2018.

Last year, a judge granted Depp permission to force the ACLU reveal whether Heard has donated the full amount she pledged, and the organization was asked to release documents to confirm.

During a hearing last July, Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft said the actress was still planning to make the donations, though the schedule for doing so was yet "undetermined." Bredehoft said at the time, "[Heard] has always said she fully intends to continue to give the full $7 million, but she can't do it yet. She will do it when she can. But she has given a significant amount."

Johnny Depp

Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, Depp's attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor has testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard — who welcomed her first baby, a daughter, in April 2021 — said in a statement that "hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world."

During opening statements, Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn said evidence will show she suffered domestic abuse by Depp that "took many forms," including physical, emotional, verbal and psychological, as well as "sexual violence at the hands of Depp." A spokesperson for Depp denies the allegations, calling them "fictitious."

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