KEY POINTS

  • Johnny Depp's petition to determine if Amber Heard donated her entire $7 million divorce settlement was granted
  • The American Civil Liberties Union was ordered to release docs confirming whether or not Heard followed through on her pledge
  • Depp's lawyer claimed one of Heard's intended charitable beneficiaries confirmed she has not made any payments

Johnny Depp has won a rare victory in his ongoing legal battle against Amber Heard as he attempts to discover whether his ex-wife carried out her promised donation of her $7 million divorce settlement.

Heard previously declared she didn’t want Depp’s cash after their 2016 split and vowed to donate the settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Now, a petition filed by Depp's lawyers in New York Supreme Court has been partially granted by a judge, which will force the ACLU to release documents that confirm whether or not Heard followed through on her pledge, USA Today reported. 

"Mr. Depp is most gratified by the Court’s decision," Depp's attorney Benjamin Chew said in a statement to USA Today. The outlet has not received a response to requests for comment from Heard and ACLU.

This came months after Depp lost a libel suit in November against tabloid The Sun's publisher, which had labeled him a "wife beater" after Heard accused him of being violent and abusive. The case pitted Depp against the tabloid and its editor, with his ex-wife standing as the latter's witness.

"I remained financially independent from him [Depp] the whole time we were together and the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity," Heard said in a witness statement dated Feb. 26, 2020, obtained by Daily Mail.

Judge Andrew Nichol cited the gesture while deciding the libel case in The Sun’s favor, commenting that the "donation of the $7 million to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold digger," E! News reported.

In March, Depp's appeal was denied after his lawyer Andrew Caldecott argued that Heard's donation pledge was a "calculated and manipulative lie" that "tipped the scales against Mr. Depp from the very beginning."

Caldecott also alleged that one of Heard's intended beneficiaries, CHLA, wrote to Depp's business adviser in 2019 saying that Heard has not made any payments to them.

However, lawyers for the publisher of The Sun rejected Caldecott's argument, insisting Heard did not lie about the donations because she was pledging to pay the sum over 10 years. Adam Wolanski, representing News Group Newspapers, claimed the actress had made a "number of payments already in pursuance of these pledges."

However, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star's lawyer Adam Waldman claimed earlier that she didn't donate the entire amount as she promised. 

"The Sun’s barrister Sasha Wass misleading the UK court, razzle dazzling Heard’s false under oath donation claims she has been making for 4 years re: Children’s Hospital. The Hospital’s own correspondence exposes the lies; she actually donated an amount that rhymes with 'Hero,'" Waldman wrote on in a since-deleted tweet

In Waldman's other tweets, he shared documents about anonymous donations made to the Children's Hospital through Heard's recommendation. The hospital received $500,000 in 2017 and another $250,000 in 2018. However, Waldman pointed out that the donations were from anonymous donors and not the money from the divorce settlement. He also attacked CHLA for allegedly allowing Heard to use them.

Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft confirmed in January that her client has yet to fulfill the $7 million pledge she made to CHLA and ACLU, citing financial reasons.

"Amber has already been responsible for seven figures in donations to charitable causes and intends to continue to contribute and eventually fulfill her pledge," Bredehoft said in a statement to Deadline. "However, Amber has been delayed in that goal because Mr. Depp filed a lawsuit against her, and consequently, she has been forced to spend millions of dollars defending Mr. Depp’s false accusations against her."

Bredehoft also alleged that Depp's legal representatives are purposefully speculating about the status of Heard's donation to draw focus away from the actor's ongoing legal woes.

Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp met in 2011 Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp Photo: AFP / ISABEL INFANTES