What Happens If Amber Heard Can't Pay $10.4 Million Judgement?



After a Virginia jury unanimously ruled in favor of Johnny Depp in the actor's defamation case against Amber Heard, his ex-wife has been ordered to pay $10.35 million in damages.
credit: REUTERS / Alamy.
The trial - which started back in April in Fairfax, Virginia - saw the 58-year-old Edward Scissorhands star attempting to sue his ex-wife for $50 million over what his legal team deemed were defamatory comments in her 2018 op-ed published by The Washington Post.

Heard, 36, referred to herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse" in the piece, and Depp's lawyers argued that the article ruined his career and reputation - even though it never mentioned his name.


After six weeks, the high-profile defamation trial concluded on Wednesday (June 1), after a jury sided with Depp and agreed that his former wife did defame him. He is now entitled to $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages (lowered from $5 million per Virginia state law).
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As reported by Newsweek, the legal battle possibly hindered the Aquaman star's career and raises questions about whether she is capable of covering the damages.

So what are Heard's options if she is unable to pay the $10.35 million judgment?

Well, reports state that the actor could either appeal the judgment, file for bankruptcy, or risk having her wages garnished.

As per CBS News, attorney Sandra Spurgeon of Spurgeon Law Group from Lexington, Kentucky said that while the actress can appeal the verdict, she could be required to post a bond for the full $10.4 million judgment, plus interest.

"For an individual who doesn't have the ability to pay the judgment and no ability to post the bond, then there is a real issue if the winning party intends to execute the judgment," Spurgeon told CBS MoneyWatch.


Heard's lawyer, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, appeared on The TODAY Show earlier this week for an interview amis the trial fallout.

The attorney revealed that the Heard can "absolutely not" pay the $10.35 million judgment. Bredehoft didn't address Heard's financial status but she added that Heard absolutely plans to appeal the ruling.

Another option is that the actress could file for bankruptcy, which would eradicate the $10 million she’s expected to pay in compensatory damages, but, she would still be required to pay the $350,000 in punitive damages.


However, if the previous two options don't work out, Heard could end up having her wages garnished, according to legal experts.

CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson weighed in on the option, saying: "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."
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
The Pirates of the Caribbean star didn't reveal whether he plans to pursue the monetary judgment against Heard. However, after his court victory, he posted a statement on Instagram saying that aim of the trial was to "reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome."

He added: "I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."




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