Johnny Depp’s Old Inner Circle Spills on His Spending Habits and Drug Use

·4 min read
Photo by SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Testimony from former members of Johnny Depp’s inner circle was presented to jurors on Thursday, detailing the extent of the actor’s drug and alcohol problems, and how they may have impacted his ability to land roles long before he says Amber Heard tagged him as an abuser.

Depp had a habit of “showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s former long-time talent agent, testified via video deposition played in a Virginia courtroom Thursday. “I would get yelled at. I never said to him, ‘You’re a difficult client.’ But I was very honest with him and said you’ve got to stop doing this, it’s hurting you. And it did.”

Jacobs was one of three witnesses called by Heard’s team to push back on the narrative that the actress “devastated” Depp’s career when she penned a 2018 Washington Post op-ed describing herself as a domestic-violence survivor two years after seeking a restraining order against him. Heard has since counter-sued Depp, claiming that his $50 million civil defamation lawsuit and his legal team defamed her by alleging her allegations were a “hoax.”

Adam Waldman, an attorney Heard’s team alleges helped Depp mount a “smear campaign” against the actress, also testified via video deposition played on Thursday. Repeatedly declining to answer questions by citing attorney-client privilege, Waldman testified that he never saw any part of Depp’s relationship with Heard and only met the actor after their divorce was finalized.

Throughout the trial, both Depp and Heard have claimed they were victims of domestic violence by their former partner during their short-lived union that officially dissolved in 2017. On the stand, Heard claimed that Depp physically and sexually assaulted her several times, usually under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Depp has denied any wrongdoing but has admitted previously struggling with drugs.

Bruce Witkin, a former long-time friend and bandmate of Depp’s, said in a video deposition played Thursday that he saw Depp abuse substances and even recommended that he go to therapy and get sober. He claimed that he saw Depp do cocaine a few times, including with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. In terms of Depp’s romantic relationships, Witkin said that sometimes the actor had a “jealous streak,” once getting jealous of Nicolas Cage and Adam Ant for knowing his former wife.

“In my experience, it’s deep-rooted issues he’s dealing with,” Witkin said. "It had nothing to do with Amber, in my opinion.”

The Johnny Depp Lawyer Who Grilled Amber Heard Gains a Cult Following

The former bandmate also discussed Depp’s money woes, which he said were so dire that at one point the actor told him he needed to “slow down and do more movies.”

But Jacobs, the former agent, said that it was hard for the actor she once deemed “the biggest star in the world” to get work because of his “unprofessional” behavior on set. She claimed that his behavior included being unprepared for work—which resulted in him needing an ear piece to be fed his lines—in addition to alcohol and drug problems.

The agent added that since the film industry is a “small community” and “people talk,” Depp’s poor reputation eventually took a toll. Depp’s legal team has previously claimed that Disney dropped the actor from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise just four days after Heard’s op-ed was published, and that the piece was the reason why.

Jacobs said she was ultimately fired in 2016, noting that Depp “terminated essentially everyone in his life, and I was along for the ride, I guess.”

Depp’s former business manager, Joel Mandel, also testified about the actor’s income and spending habits, claiming that his lavish lifestyle eventually caught up to him. Mandel said that at one point, Depp spent $10,000 a day on his personal security guard—and spent the same amount monthly on nurses and doctors dedicated to helping his recovery.

“The spending levels had grown very, very, very large, and required that level of incredibly high income to be maintained,” Mandel said. “And when it dropped off, that disconnect became untenable.”

Mandel, who said he was terminated in March 2016, claimed that Depp’s finances were so bad that the actor was not even able to pay his taxes in October 2015.

“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and on a very regular basis was expressing that concern,” Mandel said. “And it seemed as I increased my level of expressing that concern, there was anger directed, you know, in my direction. And so, my warnings in 2015 that we were in very dire circumstances were not met very favorably."

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