Here's What Happens If Amber Heard Can't Pay $10.35 Million To Johnny Depp

Jordan Claes
Amber Heard in court during defamation trial, close-up shot of her face.
Getty Images | Getty Images | EVELYN HOCKSTEIN

From April 1st to June 1st, the world watched as the defamation lawsuit between Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Aquaman star, Amber Heard, unfolded before our very eyes. After weeks worth of testimony, the courts sided in favor of Johnny.

The judge initially awarded Johnny damages to the tune of $15 million, later reduced to $10.35 million. With her career crumbling before her, many have been made to wonder how Amber will be able to come up with the funds — as well as what could happen if Amber can't find a way to pay.

After more than six weeks' worth of testimony, Johnny Depp's defamation trial against ex-wife, Amber Heard, has come to a close.

Johnny Depp testifying against Amber Heard.
youtube | Law&Crime Network

Johnny sued his ex-wife for defamation after Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post, wherein she referred to herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

Johnny was seeking $50 million and Heard counter-sued him for $100 million.

Amber Heard taking a selfie.
instagram | @amberheard

The judge and jurors sided largely with Johnny, awarding him $15 million (later reduced to $10.35 million). Heard was awarded $2 million.

The court case itself was basically a show for many people around the world.

This was after she alleged that Johnny's lawyer, Adam Waldman, defamed her by claiming her allegations were untrue.

Judge Judy snapping her fingers
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But now that it's over, the question on everybody's mind is "What happens now?"

Luckily, we have some answers for you, but not even we know everything.

According to her now-famous lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, Heard's next step is to appeal the verdict.

David from 'Schitt's Creek' saying "What now?"
Giphy | CBC

When Bredehoft was asked whether or not Amber could afford to pay during an appearance on the Today show, she replied "Oh, no, absolutely not."

During closing arguments, Bredehoft revealed to the court that Amber had already paid more than $6 million in legal fees.

Amber Heard in court.
youtube | Law&Crime Network

Unfortunately for Heard, this is owed money that she simply does not have. According to, her collective net worth sits at -$6 million.

To make financial matters even worse, there is currently a petition on to have Amber removed entirely from 'Aquaman 2'.

Amber Heard as Mera in 'Aquaman'.
Warner Bros. | Warner Bros.

To date, the petition has a little more than 4.5 million signatures, but those numbers are increasing quickly, that is for sure.

Chances are, they will continue to rise.

Ferris Bueller doing a 'yikes' face
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And what happens if it does continue to rise? Well, if the petition goes on to hit 6 million, it will be one of the top petitions in the site's history.

Crazy, right?

If the petition is successful, it stands to reason that Amber will not be appearing in 'Aquaman 3', either.

Amber Heard selfie with hair in front of face.
instagram | @amberheard

For the third installment of the franchise, Amber was slated to take home roughly $4 million — money that she desperately needs at the moment.

While speaking to 'People' magazine, legal analyst Emily D. Baker discussed the potential scenarios that could arise if Heard is unable to pay.

Ajar of coins, tipped over.
Unsplash | Josh Appel

And as you can imagine, it is not so simple.

"It will be up to the parties," Baker began.

"But once the judgment is entered on June 24, I wonder if the attorneys will start negotiating that judgment payment."

Cardi B saying Okurr
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Throughout the trial, Johnny's lawyer, Ben Chew, reiterated time and time again that Johnny was not seeking to punish Amber.

Even though many people online were going back and forth on that very argument.

Johnny Depp raising his hand to his face.
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"I imagine that they will try to settle it," Baker wagered. "And you'll see a PR statement that they are not seeking to enforce the judgment."

Baker explained that if Johnny and his team choose to not enforce the verdict, an entirely new court process would begin.

For example, one thing that Johnny and his legal team could ask for is the transfer of property in order to help cover the debt.

She went on to say that she'd recommend filing an injunction that would prevent Amber from repeating defamatory statements.

Johnny Depp statement after verdict in defamation hearing.
instagram | @johnnydepp

"If he's not interested in the money, I think he's more interested in her not repeating these allegations," Baker said.

At the end of the day, getting the judgment is one thing.

Johnny Depp playing the guitar.
instagram | @johnnydepp

Getting the money is an entirely separate ordeal.

Since this trial was never really about money in the first place, Baker feels that it isn't in Johnny's best interest to aggressively enforce the court's ruling.

"I don't think we'll see them aggressively pursuing this judgment right away."

Amber Heard selfie with red hair.
instagram | @amberheard

"And I don't think they necessarily should at this point," she explained.

Some people have reasoned that Amber might be forced into filing bankruptcy. But according to Baker, this course of action wouldn't help.

"The willful element of defamation that had to be found, because they're celebrities, takes it out of the possibility of bankruptcy because it was a willful act."

Amber Heard sitting outside at a pub.
instagram | @amberheard

With no possibility of bankruptcy, Amber's only course of action may be attempting to retrieve a portion of the $7 million that she "pledged" to charity back in 2017.

While testifying in court, Amber said, under oath, that she pledged all of the $7 million to ACLU and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.

Amber Heard looking up and down.
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However, "pledged" and "donated" are far from the same thing, as was made crystal clear by Johnny's attorney, Camille Vasquez.

Thanks to an in-depth investigation by 'Rolling Stone', reports have revealed that Amber only wound up paying $350,000 of her own money to ACLU.

Johnny Depp gestures to fans during a recess outside court during the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard civil trial at Fairfax County Circuit Court on May 27, 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Getty | Consolidated News Pictures

What happened to the rest of the $7 million remains to be seen. And who knows, we may never find out.

All in all, this has been one whirlwind of a case, no matter which side of the line you might be standing on.

Amber Heard looking up
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And as far as what Amber chooses to do next — we'll just have to wait and see.