When spouses seek to divorce celebrities or high-net-worth figures, they are often accused of doing it “for the money.” In order to dispel these rumors, some spouses announce that they are planning to donate their divorce settlement to charity, making it clear that they were not motivated by financial goals when ending their relationships. One of the best examples of this in recent memory was Amber Heard, who pledged to donate her $7 million divorce settlement to two charities following her separation from Johnny Depp. But did these donations ever actually take place?

One thing’s for sure: Amber Heard probably had an extremely competent legal team on her side when she negotiated the divorce settlement. Witnesses at Depp’s libel trial testified that she and her team “kept asking for more,” and that while they initially requested about $5 million, that number rose to $7 million before eventually reaching a sum of $14 million at one point. The fact that she managed to walk away with $7 million is a testament to the skill of her lawyers – putting aside the controversy that followed. 

Amber Heard Initially Failed to Donate the Money

One thing is undeniable — the charities waited a considerable time before actually receiving any of the money whatsoever. In fact, Depp’s lawyers were the first ones to donate part of the settlement in Amber’s name. Initially, they donated about $100,000 – and were immediately chastised by Heard’s legal team for doing so. The next instructions were clear: provide the money directly to Ms. Heard. 

This was back in 2016. Amber Heard then announced that she was going to donate $3.5 million to the ACLU, and $3.5 million to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – the full amount of her entire divorce settlement. But when testifying at Heard’s libel trial in 2022, the COO of the ACLU admitted that the $3.5 million never actually arrived in their account. This was six years after Heard had promised to donate the seven-figure sum. However, she had reportedly managed to donate $1.3 million. 

Payments actually stopped rolling in by 2018 – which prompted the ACLU to contact Heard and ask what had happened. Heard then revealed that she was dealing with “financial difficulties.” Heard’s attorneys promised that it was still her intention to donate the full $7 million, but she just had not been able to follow through on her pledge yet. 

Heard Finally Donates the Money

On May 4th of 2022, it was announced that Heard had finally donated the full sum of money to the aforementioned charities. To make matters even more complicated, it was also reported that Elon Musk was donating to the charities in Heard’s name – but he was “$1 million behind” in making these payments. Musk was donating vast sums of money on Heard’s behalf, although he was apparently trying to keep these donations anonymous. 

It is not known how much of Heard’s donations came from these anonymous donors, and how much came from her own accounts. If it is the former, then it could be argued that she did not actually follow through on her pledge to donate the funds from her divorce settlement. In addition, some have pointed out that it seems as though Heard was never planning on paying the charities, but was instead forced to make good on her pledge due to the publicity of her libel trial.