Johnny Depp has scored a victory in his ongoing legal battle against ex-wife Amber Heard. A New York judge has partially granted the Pirates of the Caribbean star's petition to determine if the Aquaman actress donated her $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and to Children's Hospital Los Angeles as she had previously promised.
Because of the ruling, the ACLU must now release documents as to whether or not Heard followed through on her donation pledge. "Mr. Depp is most gratified by the Court's decision," Depp's attorney, Benjamin Chew, said in a statement to USA TODAY. The donation pledge has become a contentious point in the former couple's legal battle after Depp lost a UK libel lawsuit in November against the publisher of The Sun, having being called a "wife beater" in a 2018 headline.
During the three-week trial, Depp and Heard both testified about each other's alleged disturbing and violent behavior. The judge eventually ruled that the majority of Heard's abuse claims, as presented by the publisher of The Sun, were true. In March, Depp was refused an appeal after his attorney argued Heard's donation pledge was a "calculated and manipulative lie" and had unfairly influenced the outcome of the lawsuit.
At the time, attorneys for The Sun said Heard had pledged the sums over 10 years and had made "a number of payments" heading in that direction. Their case now moves to Fairfax County, Virginia, where Depp filed a lawsuit in 2019 after Heard published a column in the Washington Post calling herself a victim of domestic abuse, although she did not name Depp as the alleged abuser. Depp is seeking $50 million and accusing his ex-wife of defaming him with domestic abuse allegations.
In response, Heard has filed a 300-plus page document detailing the alleged abuse she experienced in their relationship, claiming she was physically hurt regularly before the two wed in 2015 and continued to. be abused during their 18-month marriage. Depp has alleged similar abuse at the hands of Heard, including a fight one month after their wedding in which she allegedly threw a glass bottle at him, partially severing the tip of his finger.