Johnny Depp’s own behavior – no-shows, lateness, daily intoxication – caused his career to suffer, making it “far more complicated” to represent him in the years before his troubles with ex-wife Amber Heard became public, his former talent agent testified Thursday in a videotaped deposition.
Tracy Jacobs said she represented Depp for 30 years at ICM Partners and United Talent Agency before she was fired in 2016. Jacobs said she doesn’t know why Depp let her go.
“All I know is he terminated essentially everyone in his life, so I was along for the ride, I guess,” she said.
Heard has testified to multiple incidents of violent attacks that took place primarily from 2014 to 2016, when she filed a restraining order against Depp and ultimately sought a divorce. Depp is suing her for $50 million, saying her 2018 Washington Post op-ed defamed him and destroyed his career; she is countersuing for $100 million.
Jacobs said Depp’s career suffered because of “showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” describing how crews loved him – until they wound up standing around for hours, over and over.
Jacobs, one of the industry’s top power brokers with a roster of stars, was the first woman to be named a board member at a major talent agency. She said at one point Depp “became the biggest star in the world” and was “extraordinarily talented,” but that her opinion of Depp changed over time.
“Because his star had dimmed,” she said, “due to it getting harder to get him jobs given the reputation that he had acquired due to his lateness and … other things.”
She said during their last 10 years of working together, she began addressing her concerns as Depp’s behavior became increasingly problematic. “I was very honest with him and said, ‘You’ve got to stop doing this. This is hurting you’ … and it did.”
Hollywood was talking. “It also got around town. I mean, people talk, it’s a small community and it made people reluctant to use him toward the end.” Jacobs said crews loved the actor but they didn’t love sitting around for hours “waiting for the star of the movie to show up.”
During filming of “Pirates 5,” Jacobs said she flew to Australia to talk to Depp about “the lateness and not showing up.” She said she was getting yelled at because of his behavior, which she believed was due to increased drugs and alcohol use. It was around that time she referred him to Dr. David Kipper, who “had a lot of experience with high profile people and really helping them seriously get and stay sober.”
Jacobs said in Depp’s final deal for “Murder on the Orient Express,” he was paid $5 million for four consecutive weeks of shooting, “plus a great backend which he has received significant money on subsequently.” But that wasn’t anything close to “Pirates” money – for the fifth installment, Depp was paid $25 million “with a backend,” she said.
She also said that no one from Disney was committed at any point to Depp appearing in a sixth “Pirates” film.
Despite his booming box office hits, Depp suffered financial troubles, and at one point asked UTA to give him $20 million. “He felt that he had made a lot of money for us and we should just do it because of how much money he had made over the duration of his being at UTA,” Jacobs said.
She said the agency said they weren’t a “bank” – but helped him secure a $20 million loan from Bank of America.
Testimony continued Thursday with pre-recorded depositions from Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman.