Johnny Depp might be waiting for his more than $10 million in compensatory damages from Amber Heard for a while.
Why is that? Well, it turns out that she is completely “broke” after accumulating years of legal fees and lavish spending.
In case you missed it, the couple’s trial concluded earlier this week with the jury finding that Amber defamed the Pirates of the Caribbean actor in her 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post that chronicled her experience as a domestic abuse survivor. Thus, Johnny was awarded $15 million in damages, but the 36-year-old actress would only have to shell out $10.35 million due to a Virginia law only allowing a certain amount in punitive damages. Although Amber was found liable for defaming her former husband, she was still awarded $2 million for claims made by his lawyer.
It was a considerable loss for the Aquaman star – but that is apparently just the start of her problems. Following the verdict, her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft then confirmed to Today on Thursday that Amber would “absolutely not” be able to pay up the significant amount to Johnny.
That is not exactly surprising given that the pair have been involved in a court battle for years now! Sources even spilled to The New York Post that Amber has been struggling financially, all thanks to the legal matter. Several factors seem to come into play as to why she is strapped for cash at this time — including, as insiders noted, that she ended up switching legal representation. As the outlet reported, Amber supposedly used her homeowner’s insurance policy from The Travelers Companies in order to afford her current attorneys.
Granted, this is not exactly a new concept. Pennsylvania lawyer Heather Heidelbaugh explained that people relying on their homeowner insurance policies happens pretty often in defamation cases:
“It’s a little oddity that most people don’t know. In most homeowner insurance policies, there is coverage if you are sued for defamation based on how much you pay through coverage.”
Although an insurance company hires and pays for the legal rep, Virginia lawyer Jeremiah Denton told The New York Post that most policies include a clause stating that any costs stemming from a verdict won’t be covered:
“The insurance company will keep in its back pocket the option of denying coverage at the end of the day – denying coverage means refusing to pay the plaintiff, in this case Mr. Depp. A lot of insurance policies provide coverage for defamation but they have an exclusion in, which says ‘we will not cover any intentional wrongdoing.’ In order to win a defamation case against a public figure, you have to show intentional wrongdoing. Sometimes what it requires to get the judgment kicks you out of the policy that may pay for the judgment. That’s the dilemma.”
The more you know, huh…
Another reason? One source blamed it on the fact that Amber spent a lot of money on expensive things such as travel, clothes, gifts, and wine. Not good!
According to multiple outlets, her net worth has also only been estimated between $1.5 and $2.5 million – so nowhere close to what she owes Johnny now! But like we said, it does not shock us Amber won’t be able to cough up the funds – especially given this new info about her being “broke” and the fact that events during the six-week trial hinted at the fact.
It was revealed during a court testimony that she was paid $1 million for her role in Aquaman and another $2 million for the sequel, but lost out on several brand deals, including one with L’Oreal, in the years since this legal drama started. Meanwhile, Amber claimed she wasn’t able to carry out her promise to donate the $7 million she obtained from her divorce settlement with Johnny to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles due to her legal fees:
“I would love him to stop suing me so I can.”
The ACLU backed her implication, telling the jurors that the actress stopped a check to the charity in 2018 after they “learned she was having financial difficulties.”
And yet even though Amber is having some financial issues, there is still a chance Johnny could claim the money he is owed.
How? Experts shared with the outlet that he could seize her wages from her upcoming movies, levy her assets or even take her house in Yucca Valley (which has been valued at $1 million).
Virginia Appellate lawyer Steven Emmert said:
“If she doesn’t have the money then his avenue, while she’s pursuing an appeal, is to try to execute on property she owns.”
He then noted that if the Sleepy Hollow star wanted to know where her assets are, he potentially could serve her a summons for debtors interrogatories “where you summon the debtor to come to a court and his lawyer would get to ask her questions saying ‘what property do you own, what real estate do you own, what vehicles do you own, what jewelry do you own, what art collections,’ — anything else that they could use to grab and sell at auction to try to pay down and pay off, ultimately, this judgment.”
“[Depp] can institute collection proceedings so he can garnish [Heard’s] pay, if she has a salary or wage-type income. He can attach her assets which basically means seize them. He can get to her assets, sell them and take cash.”
Basically, this would be even more of a giant headache for Amber – and according to litigator Brett Turnbull, she might be dealing with this for a while as judgments in Virginia can last up to 10 years or more if extended. Oof!
Of course, the amount could be lowered since she plans on appealing the verdict. But still, things are not looking too good for Amber!
[Image via Law&Crime/YouTube]