Johnny Depp’s manager testifies that Amber Heard’s op-ed was ‘catastrophic’ for actor’s career

(CNN) — Jack Whigham, who began representing Johnny Depp as a manager for film deals, testified that the actor started losing his job after Amber Heard’s 2018 op-ed.

Depp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although Depp was not named in the article, the actor claims that he cost him lucrative acting roles.

Both Heard and Depp, who met in 2009 and were married between 2015 and 2016, accuse the other of acts of physical violence during their relationship. Both have denied the other’s claims.

Wigham testified remotely Monday, sharing details of the actor’s earnings from movies he shot in 2017 and 2018. Whigham testified that Depp earned $10 million for the 2017 film “Murder on the Orient Express,” $8 million for the 2018 film “City of Lies.” and $13.5 million for the 2018 film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald.”

Heard’s op-ed was published in the Washington Post on December 18, 2018, and is at the heart of Depp’s libel case against the actress. Whigham testified that Depp had closed a $22.5 million deal for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean 6,” but that after Heard’s article was published, Depp made “zero” studio films.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal battle continues 0:51

“Regarding Johnny, (the op-ed) was catastrophic because it came from a first-person account, it wasn’t from a journalist or someone watching, it was from someone saying, ‘This happened to me,'” he said. Whigham.

“Minamata,” a movie that was scheduled to start filming in January 2019, just weeks after the piece came out, turned into chaos, Whigham testified.

“I remember it was very, very difficult to keep the ‘Minamata’ project going. The funding got shaky, the budget had to be cut, Johnny’s fee was cut in order to save the movie,” Whigham testified.

Then, Whigham said, he learned that Disney had decided to go in a different direction and would no longer use Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean 6.”

Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney, sharply questioned Whigham about the “Pirates 6” deal, asking “why is there nothing, no paper, nothing to suggest that Mr. Depp ever had a deal with Disney.”

Whigham later explained that for stars like Depp, for movies that are sequels, agreements at a certain stage are usually verbal.

“It’s based on the same contract that has existed. Sometimes we don’t get the paperwork or we don’t see the paperwork until the movie is already being shot,” Whigham testified.

Whigham admitted that a Disney executive had not committed to Depp being in the sixth installment of the film franchise.
Also, the manager said that Depp hasn’t made a movie since July 2020.

Depp’s former agent had already talked about the subject of “Pirates of the Caribbean”

In a recorded statement for the court, Depp’s former agent Christian Carino testified that he believes Heard’s domestic violence allegations against Depp cost the actor future “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

“My opinion is that Amber’s accusations would have had the most dramatic impact on her off-screen reputation. I’m not talking about any specific accusation,” Carino said.

Carino began representing Depp in October 2016, at one point representing both Depp and Heard at the same time.

An attorney for Heard pressed Carino about other problems Depp may have had while working on previous Pirates movies.

“I am aware that he is not punctual, but he has been unpunctual in everything in his life,” Carino said. “I think it’s problematic for everyone, but everyone has learned how to make a movie to deal with it.”

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Johnny Depp’s manager testifies that Amber Heard’s op-ed was ‘catastrophic’ for actor’s career