Jurors in the ongoing defamation case between actress Amber Heard and ex-husband Johnny Depp heard testimony on Thursday from Depp’s former talent agent, a former good friend and former business manager, who has described the strain on their relationship with the actor as his alleged substance abuse increased.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million, alleging that a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post defamed him. Depp claims the piece – which did not mention him by name – falsely portrayed him as an abuser. Heard sued Depp for $100 million, claiming his lawyer’s statements calling his abuse allegations a “hoax” were defamatory.
Tracey Jacobs, who testified in recorded deposition, said she represented Depp for 30 years as a talent agent and at one point said he was “the biggest star in the world”. Jacobs said Depp fired her around the same time he parted ways with other business associates in his life.
Jacobs testified that she was honest with Depp that he regularly showed up late to sets and that his behavior, including drug and alcohol use, was hurting his career. She testified that Depp regularly had to use an earpiece on set to feed his lines.
“His star had faded as it became more difficult to find him a job given the reputation he had gained due to being late and other things,” Jacobs said. “People were talking and the question was out there about his behavior.”
As part of his lawsuit, Depp claimed Heard’s op-ed lost him work, including tens of millions of dollars he said he needed to be paid for the potential sixth film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. “, which he probably won’t be part of. Jacobs also testified that she did not recall Disney committing to having Depp in the film.
Jacobs testified that at one point Depp was in a state of “financial desperation” and asked the agency to give him $20 million.
Tina Newman, a longtime Disney executive whose deposition was recorded in February and played for jurors on Thursday, said she did not recall seeing Heard’s editorial and did not know not whether Depp was being considered for a role in the sixth “Pirates” movie.
“It’s in over my head,” Newman said. “I just know it’s a project that may be in development at the studio.”
Jurors also heard a taped deposition from former Depp business manager Joel Mandel, whom Depp split from in 2016 and whose company Depp sued in 2017, accusing him of mishandling his income. The lawsuit was settled in 2018.
Mandel testified that around 2010 it became more difficult to work with Depp due to seemingly daily substance use.
“What I had always experienced as a person who liked to taste his wine at the end of the day became a consumption that seemed excessive to me,” Mandel testified. “The ability to coordinate and find times when he would meet became more difficult. It became clear over time that there were problems with alcohol and drugs. And that translated into more erratic behavior, more stressful behavior, more times when it was difficult to strike up the kind of conversation I needed to do my job.
Mandel said he started voicing his concerns about Depp’s “very difficult financial situation” very regularly in 2015 and said that while Depp’s income was very high, so were his expenses. He said that at one point Depp paid staff $300,000 a month.
Heard’s legal team pointed to the fact that several members of Depp’s paid staff testified as part of her case against her and accused them of siding with Depp because he pays them.
Heard completed his testimony earlier this week.
Heard’s agent, Jessica Kovachevic, testified that the actress’ career didn’t take the upward trajectory expected after ‘Aquaman,’ and she felt the negative media attention had a negative impact on her earnings. .
Kovachevic also said that no issues were raised regarding Heard’s performance in the hit 2018 DC film and that she would have expected Heard to earn more after starring in it, but didn’t. not done.
CNN has reached out to Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, for comment. (CNN and Warner Bros. share a parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery)
Actress Ellen Barkin, who said she had known Depp since 1990, testified that she was in a relationship with Depp that turned sexual for several months in 1994.
Barkin testified that Depp was drunk “most of the time or a lot” that she was with him and described him as controlling and jealous. She described an incident in a hotel room in Las Vegas when there was a fight between other people.
“Mr. Depp threw a bottle of wine across the room, the hotel room, in one instance in Las Vegas, while we were filming ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,'” Barkin recalled.
Court proceedings will resume on Monday for the final week of testimony.