Johnny Depp has long been praised for being genuinely awesome to fans and regular folk, including those in the crews of his movies. Countless stories of the actor’s kindness and humility have been told over the past few decades, but according to his former talent agent, alleged behavioral issues that started later in his career were the real reason his Hollywood stardom started to dim.
Tracey Jacobs, who represented the actor for 30 years until 2016 when he fired her, gave her testimony on Tuesday as part of Depp’s ongoing defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, and she explained how Johnny’s career took a dive because of an alleged bad reputation he developed over the years.
In a pre-recorded video, Jacobs told the court that while representing the 21 Jump Street alum, he became the “biggest star in the world” and that he was “extraordinarily talented,” but added that he eventually became difficult to work with. When asked why the Oscar nominee fired her, Jacobs said:
“I really don’t know. He terminated essentially everyone in his life so I was along for the ride, I guess.”
The court was then read part of a deposition by Johnny in which he implied Jacobs was a “co-conspirator” with somebody he sued and that she was using him for money — a claim Jacobs said was “all untrue.”
Related: Amber’s Sister Testifies She Witnessed Johnny ‘Whacking’ The Actress ‘Repeatedly In The Face’
When asked if the father-of-two was a “difficult” client, the agent revealed:
“He wasn’t initially and it became far more complicated in the last 10 years of my representing him.”
These complications came from Depp’s “unprofessional behavior,” according to Jacobs, who added that the phrase “covers a multitude of things.” She shared:
“Showing up late to set, consistently, on virtually every movie. 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, this is hurting you. And it did.”
However, Jacobs’ talks with the now-58-year-old apparently didn’t change a thing about his behavior — which she said was due to his increased use of alcohol and drugs.
When Amber’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft asked if Depp “romanticized drug culture,” Jacobs said yes. The agent also said yes when Bredehoft asked if Johnny had “fundamental issues with anger.” The lawyer then asked:
“Did that worsen over the time of your representation or relatively the same?”
To which Jacobs replied:
“Yes, it worsened over time.”
Jacobs confirmed that the star was impatient when he didn’t get his way and that he started using an earpiece so people could feed him his lines on set, adding:
“Initially crews loved him because he was always so great with the crew but crews don’t love sitting around for hours and hours waiting for the star of the movie to show up. It also got around town – people talk – and it made people reluctant to use him toward the end.”
Jacobs went on to recall how she had to swoop in when problems came up while Johnny was shooting the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film in Australia, where his fingertip got sliced off and filming had to be shut down for several weeks. The agent said she not only had to have several conversations with Disney execs, but went as far as to fly down to Australia twice to try and smooth things over.
The court was then shown receipts of Johnny’s controlling side when it came to Amber. An email that Depp sent to Jacobs was displayed in the courtroom, showing how pressed Johnny was that Heard’s character in London Fields would be nude for a scene — even though the scene was shot with a body double.
Depp emailed Jacobs:
“IT MUST BE SHUT DOWN OR I WILL SUE THEM EIGHTEEN WAYS FROM F**KING SUNDAY. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOBODYS IN THIS BUSINESS AND THEY SHOULD BE MADE TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE WILL RUIN THEN INSTANTLY.”
In a follow up email Depp fumed:
“I NEED YOU to go to the f**king harleys (Hanleys, the film producer) regarding LONDON FIELDS!!! they are going to be PREMIERING IT AT THE LONDON TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL. It is in Amber’s contract there will be NO NUDITY.”
Jacobs explained that the emails showed Depp was “trying to get me to kill [the film]” and “doing everything to shut this down.” As for Depp’s reputation now? Jacobs quipped that “these lawsuits don’t help.” The agent then testified that the actor was in “financial desperation” in early 2016 and that she emailed him with “good news” about a loan. She explained:
“We were able to secure a loan for him through Bank of America when Ed White (Depp’s business manager) couldn’t get him any money and it was very helpful for him.”
While Depp signed a deal for $5 million for appearing in Murder of the Orient Express and was paid $25 million for Pirates 5 around that time, Jacobs pointed out that his stardom was waning. She mused:
“His star had dimmed, given the reputation he’d acquired due to his lateness and other things. People were talking and the question was out there about his behavior.”
Jacobs said Johnny came into her office in early 2016 and asked for the $20 million because he “needed the money,” noting:
“He needed the money. He just expected us to do it.”
When pressed on whether Johnny nonchalantly asked “to get $20 million” for him, Jacobs said:
“Actually it was I want you to give me $20 million. The question was not asked as a loan.”
Jacobs said two other execs told Depp they were “not in a position to give our clients that kind of money. We’re not a bank,” but Depp responded by arguing they should give him the money anyway because “he’d made a lot of money for us.” Jacobs added that no other client has ever made such a demand.
[Image via Law and Crime/MEGA/WENN]