What happens if Amber Heard can’t pay Johnny Depp’s $10.35 million in damages?

Millions of dollars are owed after Wednesday’s verdict, when jurors mostly sided with Johnny Depp against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The judge reduced the $15 million awarded to Depp to $10.35 million (based on a Virginia state law limiting punitive damages), and Heard was awarded $2 million in damages in her defamation counterclaim. Her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said on: Today Thursday morning, Heard’s next move is to appeal the verdict – confirming that the actress “definitely cannot” pay the compensation amount.

In addition, Bredehoft mentioned in her closing arguments last week that Heard, 36, had so far paid more than $6 million in legal fees for the trial.

Legal analyst Emily D. Baker tells PEOPLE what could happen if Heard is unable to make those payments.

“It will be up to the parties, but once the verdict is entered on June 24, I wonder if the lawyers will begin to negotiate payment of the verdict,” Baker said. Ben Chew said in his closing speech that Johnny Depp did not want to punish Amber Heard with money. [Chew said on Friday to the jury: The case “has never been about money” or about “punishing” Heard.] I imagine they will try to settle it and you will see a PR statement that they are not trying to enforce the verdict.”

“If they want to enforce the verdict,” she continues, “that starts a very separate process in court, of possible seizure of property, setting up ways for it to be paid. I imagine – and if I’m Team Depp , will this is what I would do – they would look into getting an injunction to stop Amber Heard from repeating statements that the jury found to be defamatory and then rule that the payments will not be made and no verdict will be made to be.”

Baker says, “If he’s not interested in the money, I think he’s more interested in her not repeating these accusations.”

RELATED: Verdict in Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard Defamation Case Is ‘Strange’ and ‘Unexpected,’ Legal Experts Say

Amber Heard waits for jury to say they believe she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp as she announced split verdicts in favor of both her ex-husband Johnny Depp and Heard

Amber Heard waits for jury to say they believe she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp as she announced split verdicts in favor of both her ex-husband Johnny Depp and Heard

EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty

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“Getting the verdict is one thing. Getting the money is quite another,” she says.

If Depp’s side goes after the money, they can, according to Baker, seize property and “try to capture her any wages or any leftovers that come in and go chase it through the courts, but that’s a separate process that starts as once the verdict is entered, it can be a very lengthy process to enforce a verdict.”

“From a PR standpoint, it wouldn’t be ideal to see Johnny Depp trying to aggressively enforce this judgment,” Baker says. “…We’ll see what they do. I don’t think we’ll see them aggressively pursuing this judgment right away. And I don’t think they necessarily should at this point.”

As Baker explains, filing for bankruptcy wouldn’t necessarily help Heard pay the damages.

Amber Heard standing before the jury with attorneys Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn said they believe she was defaming ex-husband Johnny Depp as she announced split sentences in favor of both her ex-husbands Johnny Depp and Heard over their claim and counter-claim in the Depp v. Heard a civil defamation lawsuit in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse

Amber Heard standing before the jury with attorneys Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn said they believe she was defaming ex-husband Johnny Depp as she announced split sentences in favor of both her ex-husbands Johnny Depp and Heard over their claim and counter-claim in the Depp v. Heard a civil defamation lawsuit in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse

EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty

“Because this is an intentional tort — the willful element of defamation that had to be found because they’re celebrities — it takes it out of the possibility of bankruptcy because it was an intentional act. So it’s a willful tort,” she says. “Defamation, and when it’s against a public figure, that element of whimsy, that element of malice takes the right out of the possibility of being fired in bankruptcy.”

There are also past charitable promises from Heard that are hanging in the air. In 2016, the actress publicly announced that she would donate all of her $7 million divorce settlement to charities, half to the American Civil Liberties Union and the other half to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As Depp’s team has proven in court, the actress has yet to fulfill those promises, which were planned to be paid in annual increments. In her testimony, Heard said she still fully intends to complete the donations.

“I’d like him to stop suing me so I can,” Heard, who is mother to 1-year-old daughter Oonagh Paige, said on the witness stand to make good on the promised charitable payments.

Depp’s win in the defamation lawsuit comes 19 months after he lost his libel suit in the UK in November 2020. The sun to call him a “wife beater”. Heard testified to support the claims, and a London judge upheld the outlet’s claims as “substantially true”. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn that decision was negated.

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