THE BLOG

Why Amber Heard's Settlement Money Donation Has Left Me Disheartened

19/08/2016 14:58 | Updated 19 August 2016
Rabbani and Solimene Photography via Getty Images

My initial reaction to Amber Heard's decision to donate her £5 million divorce settlement to charity, namely one that helps domestic violence victims, was one of joy. What a brilliant, kind thing to do, I thought.

But then I cast my mind back over the last four months, during which time we have seen Heard and Johnny Depp's divorce unfold on the pages of tabloid papers.

The actress's accusations of domestic violence were first succeeded by pictures of Amber's bruises. Then came the news that the actress had been granted a restraining order against her estranged husband.

In the days before their divorce case was due to be heard, a video of the actor in an apparently drunken rage was published online. On the morning of the hearing, a graphic picture of Depp's bloodied finger, which had allegedly been cut by the actor himself, was published, alongside another of a mirror with a crude accusation of infidelity painted on it, allegedly by Depp, with his maimed finger.

Yet as each of these pieces of news unfolded, it was Amber who stood trial in the media. Depp's friends came out to defend him, much fuss was made when Amber was forced to miss a deposition due to an emergency, and many media publications saw fit to let their websites play home to debates on whether she was telling the truth, or faking domestic violence in a bid for a nice, big cheque from her former husband.

When it was awarded, many of Heard's detractors scoffed, tweeting that the scheming actress had got her wish. So the news that she was actually giving the whole lot away prompted cheers from many Heard supporters.

In donating the money, Amber has proven these doubters wrong. How could she have been in it for the cash, if she's just given it all away?

This is where my joy turned to disappointment. The truth of the matter is that doing this was the only way for Amber to silence her critics, and shut down claims that she was lying about being the victim in an abusive relationship.

Amber has been forced to defend her reputation in a way that Depp has not, and this is just the latest instance of this happening.

If she had instead chose to keep the cash and invest in a new private jet - or whatever it is that mega-rich celebrities are doing these days - then it shouldn't have mattered. But the fact of the matter is, if Amber had spent the money, or even just left it to sit in her bank account, the 'gold-digger' whispers would never have gone away.

When a woman - any woman - comes forward with statements such as Amber's, our default thought should not be: 'Is she telling the truth?'

It's fantastic that the money will help both domestic violence victims, or as Amber put it "those less able to defend themselves", and patients at an LA children's hospital, but divorce settlement money is given for a reason.

Someone who has suffered domestic violence shouldn't have to give it away to prove they weren't fibbing.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS