A Court Ordered Amber Heard To Shell Out Millions To Johnny Depp. But What If She Can't Pay?

Celebrity lawsuits have a habit of capturing the public’s attention, and nowhere is that more obvious than in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial. With cameras in the courtroom, the discourse surrounding their tumultuous relationship has dominated the news cycle and social media. Ultimately the verdict sided with Depp, and Heard was ordered to pay over $10 million in damages. The court ordered the Aquaman actress to shell out millions to her ex-husband, but what if she can’t pay?

Even by celebrity standards, $10 million is a massive sum of money. And with Amber Heard found guilty on all three counts of defamation, the Virginia jury ultimately ruled that Johnny Depp be given a huge payout. But what if she can’t produce all these millions? People recently spoke to legal analyst Emily D. Baker, who offered insight on what might happen if Depp insists on enforcing the judgment for that sum. As she put it,

If they do want to enforce the judgment. That starts a whole separate process in court, of potentially attaching property, setting up ways it has to be paid. I imagine — and if I'm team Depp, this is what I would do — they'd look at getting an injunction to stop Amber Heard from repeating statements that the jury found were defamatory and then stipulating that the payments won't be made and there won't be any judgment outstanding.

Interesting. It looks like it’s ultimately Johnny Depp and his lawyers’ decision on whether or not to pursue the $10 million sum from Amber Heard. This could even include seizing her home. Alternatively, the teams might instead make a new deal, passing on the money in exchange for Heard’s silence on certain issues and dropping the appeal.

While their time in court might have come to an end, clearly there’s more to the legal saga shared with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Her team previously confirmed their intention of appealing the court’s decision, but perhaps a deal regarding the money could change this decision. Only time will tell.

What Amber Heard’s Lawyer Said About Not Being Able To Pay

Shortly after the verdict was revealed to the public, Amber Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft appeared on Today to address the trial. When asked if her client would be able to pay a whopping $10 million to Johnny Depp, she responded quickly with:

Oh no, absolutely not.

That seems pretty cut and dry. So if Johnny Depp and his team seek that sum of money, there are a number of ways the verdict could be carried out. This includes her future earnings going directly to Depp, a payment plan, and possible seizure of any properties she might have. But is that actually the 59 year-old actor’s plan?

What Johnny Depp’s Lawyers Said About Amber Heard Not Being Able To Pay

Throughout the course of the defamation trial in Virginia, Johnny Depp and his legal team insisted that their case wasn't ultimately about money. Then again, we also learned about the financial issues the actor might be going through. Depp’s pair of lawyers recently appeared on GMA to speak about the verdict, with Ben Chew asked whether or not they’re actually pursuing the $10 million. He responded with:

We obviously can’t disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective closings, this was never about money for Mr. Depp. This was about restoring his reputation and he’s done that.

Well, there you have it. If these comments are any indication, perhaps Amber Heard won’t actually have to attempt to pay Johnny Depp millions of dollars in response to the defamation case. Although if she attempts to appeal the decision, this potential deal could be off the table. The stakes are still very high.

Professionally, Johnny Depp has recently started booking new film roles, while Amber Heard will appear in Aquaman 2. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.