After only 15 months of marriage, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp filed for divorce in May this year. Heard reportedly cited irreconcilable differences in her petition and later filed a restraining order against Depp, including allegations of domestic abuse.
In a legal back-and-forth that ended in a $7-million settlement (about R96-million) agreement on 18 August, Heard used her platform to highlight the seriousness of domestic abuse, speaking out about her experience with Depp.
At the time of their settlement, Heard committed to donating all of the money she received from Depp to two charities — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) domestic violence unit and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, where she was a volunteer. According to reports, Depp is withholding the money he owes Heard, with the intention to pay it directly to these charities, so that he can get a tax deduction. In a statement, Heard's lawyer Pierce O'Donnell said "The settlement documents are being finalised and will be signed this week... Johnny is obligated by the settlement to pay Amber, and she in turn will honour her pledges to Children's Hospital and the ACLU."
But, according to Forbes, depending on how the settlement is structured, her donation might leave Heard with a large tax bill. Unless it is structured under Section 1041 of the US Internal Revenue Code, where the settlement would be paid to her as a gift and neither she nor Depp would be seen to "recognise gain, loss, income or deduction related to the transfer", she would be left with $3.7-million (about R51-million) in taxable income, and a tax bill of about $1.4-million (about R19-million).
Meanwhile, on the U.N.'s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and as part of the Girl Gaze Project, Heard released a video last week talking about her domestic abuse experience and how critical it was to raise awareness and remind other women that they were not alone.
"I have a unique opportunity to remind other women... this doesn't have to be the way it is. You don't have to do it alone. You're not alone. And also, we can change this. Violence against women is not limited to actual physical violence," she says in the video.