Johnny Depp has scored a rare victory in his lengthy and bitter divorce case against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.
On Friday, a New York judge partially granted a petition from the Pirates of the Caribbean star to determine if Heard had followed through on her promise of donating her $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
As per the ruling, the ACLU must release documents that confirm whether or not Heard had made the donation, which has become a point of contention in the former couple's legal saga.
“Mr Depp is most gratified by the Court’s decision," Depp's lawyer Benjamin Chew told USA Today.
The latest ruling is significant in that the promised donation was cited by a judge in the UK while deciding on a libel case brought about by Depp against publishers of The Sun after a 2018 headline labelled him a "wife beater".
Giving evidence in February, Heard said: “I remained financially independent from him [Depp] the whole time we were together and the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity.”
Judge Andrew Nichol commented in the London case ruling that the “donation of the $7 million to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold digger”.
Depp, who characterised Heard as a gold digger while claiming her accusations that he was violent towards her were a hoax, lost the case.
A few days later, the actor announced he was resigning from Fantastic Beasts 3 after pressure was brought to bear by the film's producers.
In a letter to fans Depp, who played the wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-offs, said he "respected that and agreed to that request".
Depp and Heard married in 2015 after meeting on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary. Heard filed for divorce in 2016, alleging that the actor had been verbally and physically abusive throughout their relationship. Their divorce was finalised in 2017, with Depp asked to pay $7 million in settlement, which Heard pledged to donate to charity.
Following his libel case loss in 2018, Depp sued Heard for $50 million for an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post titled: "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change".
In the suit, Depp claimed he had suffered financial losses because of the accusations, including being dropped from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
The case is ongoing.
In March, Depp lost his appeal to overturn the London court ruling in the case against The Sun.
Announcing the ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Lord Justice Nicholas Underhill said the appeal had "no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard", according to the Independent.
Last week, the producer of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Peter Safran, said he would never react to fan pressure to remove Heard from the franchise.
"One is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn’t mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes. You have to do what’s right for the film, and that’s really where we landed on it," Safran said on the Deadline Hero Nation podcast.