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How will Amber Heard pay $15 million? Explaining how she can avoid paying it

Johnny Depp wins defamation trial against Amber Heard (Image via Getty Images)
Johnny Depp wins defamation trial against Amber Heard (Image via Getty Images)
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Karishma Rao

The jury found Amber heard guilty of defaming Johnny Depp. She has now been ordered to pay $15 million in damages. Experts claim that this will be a financial burden for the 36-year-old actress. The verdict comes after a lengthy defamation trial that took place after the Aquaman actress identified herself as a domestic survivor in a December 2018 op-ed piece.

The actress has earned millions after working in blockbuster films like Aquaman. She previously received seven million dollars through her divorce settlement from Depp in 2016. Though she pledged to donate the amount to charities, it came to notice that she had not completed the payment.

Amber Heard didn’t lose because the justice system failed her. Amber Heard lost because she is the abuser. There is a mountain of evidence against her. And this verdict isn’t a setback for women. It is a wakeup call to stop believing someone based on their gender only. It is a 1/ https://t.co/GjgyELX0wV

The actress reportedly earned $10 million in total between 2013 and 2019. Her four-film deal with Warner Brothers was speculated to have netted her $3.45 million. The actress also appeared in The Stand for $1.8 million. Being recognized as a brand ambassador for L’Oreal, it is speculated that she added $1.65 million to her account.

The actress’ total income since 2013 would be in the region of $23 million. However, her legal fees for her UK libel suit and her defamation trial in Virginia must have plunged her pockets.

Sources claim that her net worth today would be in the $2.5 million range, making it challenging to complete the $15 million payment.

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How will Amber Heard complete or avoid her financial responsibilities?

Amber Heard must now pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. CBS News announced that the latter was reduced to $350,000 as Virginia’s court put a cap on such awards. Former Federal Prosecutor Neama Rahmani told The Daily Beast that the actress has some time to pay the funds to her ex-husband. In Virginia, Johnny Depp has up to 30 years to collect the sum. Both parties are also entitled to ask for changes in the judgments if they are not allowed to pay the funds.

Amber Heard has the option to file for bankruptcy, which would eliminate the $10 million she is obligated to pay in compensatory charges. However, she will still be asked to pay $350,000.

The mother-of-one can also claim in court that she does not have enough money to pay the judgments. This would lead to her wages being garnished. Jessica Levinson, CBS News’ legal contributor, said:

“The question is if she says, 'Look, I don't have it. It's not there — you can look in my bank accounts,' then we can talk about things like garnishing her wages. That's not an unusual situation where somebody says, 'I don't have — I can't fulfill this,' and so I certainly think because she has earning potential.”

The actress can also appeal the verdict to get a favorable judgment which would, in turn, reduce her pay.

Sandra Spurgeon, an attorney from Spurgeon Law Group, also stated that Johnny Depp could waive the monetary damages. She added that the Edward Scissorhands actor could negotiate with Heard’s lawyers for a lower compensation figure.


Edited by Sayati Das
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