Johnny Depp’s old friends and associates say he’s been late for gigs, struggling with money and drug use

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

Depp had a habit of “showing up late to consistently shoot on virtually every movie,” Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s former longtime talent agent, testified via video deposition that played Thursday in a Virginia courtroom. “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 have to stop it, it hurts you. And it did.”

Jacobs was one of three witnesses called by Heard’s team to push back the narrative that the actress “wrecked” Depp’s career while writing in 2018 Washington Post op-ed, who described herself as a domestic violence survivor two years after she filed for a restraining order against him. Heard has since countersued against Depp, alleging that his $50 million civil defamation lawsuit and his legal team defamed her by claiming her allegations were a “hoax.”

Adam Waldman, a team led by attorney Heard, claims they helped Depp launch a “smear campaign” against the actress, who was also testified via video deposition that played Thursday. Waldman repeatedly declined to answer questions citing attorney-client privilege and 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 at the hands of their former partner during their short-lived union, which officially disbanded in 2017. On the witness stand, Heard claimed the dork physically and sexually assaulted her on a number of occasions, usually including under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Depp has denied any wrongdoing but admitted to previously struggling with drugs.

Bruce Witkin, a former longtime friend and bandmate of Depp, said in a video that played Thursday that he saw Depp abusing drugs and even recommended that he seek therapy and sober up.

“In my experience, these are deeply rooted issues that he deals with,” Witkin said. “In my opinion it had nothing to do with Amber.”

The former bandmate also opened up about Depp’s money problems, which he says were so bad that at one point the actor told him he needed to “slow down and do more movies.”

But Jacobs, the former agent, said the actor, who she once dubbed “the biggest star alive,” had a hard time getting work because of his “unprofessional” behavior on set. She claimed that alongside alcohol and drug issues, his behavior was that he was unprepared for work – resulting in him needing an earpiece to feed his lines.

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

Jacobs said she was finally fired in 2016, noting that Depp “essentially ended everyone in their lives, and I was comfortable with that, I think.”

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

“The level of spending had gotten very, very, very large and required maintaining this incredibly high level of income,” Mandel said. “And when it fell off, that separation became untenable.”

Mandel, who said he was fired in March 2016, claimed Depp’s finances were so bad the actor couldn’t even pay his taxes as of October 2015.

“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and expressed that concern very regularly,” Mandel said. “And it seemed as I increased my concern that the anger turned my way. And so, in 2015, my warnings that we were in very dire circumstances were not answered very positively. Johnny Depp’s old friends and associates say he’s been late for gigs, struggling with money and drug use


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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