Things haven’t been going very well for A-list actor Johnny Depp over the past few years.
Depp’s legal turmoil had only just started after settling his divorce from fellow actor Amber Heard in August 2016 for $7 million. In mid-January, Depp filed a lawsuit against his former business managers, alleging their “gross misconduct” caused him to lose “tens of millions of dollars.”
In the 52-page filing, Depp, 53, claims that The Mandel Co. (his management group, referred to as TMG in the legal documents) and other listed defendants mismanaged his money, causing him to lose at least $25 million, which is the amount he’s suing them for. The Pirates of the Caribbean star alleges TMG failed to file his taxes by the deadline, forcing him to incur $5.7 million in late fees.
“Mr. Depp is one of the most sought-after and highly paid actors in the world,” Depp lawyer Matthew Kanny said in the complaint. “He is also the victim of the gross misconduct of his business managers — The Management Group (TMG) and attorneys Joel and Robert Mandel — who collected tens of millions of dollars of contingent fees, purportedly based on an oral contract, all at Mr. Depp’s expense.”
Michael Kump, a lawyer for the Mandels and The Mandel Co., said in response that the lawsuit is “a transparent attempt to derail the foreclosure by concocting and spreading malicious lies.” Kump added that the actor’s financial difficulties were caused by his own “irresponsible and profligate spending.”
Kump also addressed a $5-million loan the Mandels allegedly used to bail Depp out of “trouble” in late 2012. Kump asserts that the actor promised to reimburse them by January 2014, but never did.
The Mandel Co. and the Mandels are countersuing Depp, saying his lavish $2-million-a-month lifestyle is to blame for his lost money.
“He has refused to live within his means, despite … repeated warnings about his financial condition,” their countersuit claims.
The Mandel Co. filed an amended complaint on Monday, highlighting further diva-like behaviour from Depp. The big bombshell of the fresh complaint is the allegation that Depp wears an earpiece on set (while shooting) and pays someone hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed him lines. According to the complaint, Depp doesn’t want to have to memorize his lines anymore.
“Depp listened to no one, including TMG and his other advisors, and he demanded they fund a lifestyle that was extravagant and extreme,” wrote Kump. “Ultimately, Depp and/or his sister and personal manager, Elisa Christie Dembrowski, knowingly approved all of Depp’s expenditures … Depp insisted that this sound engineer be kept on yearly retainer so that he no longer had to memorize his lines.”
In addition, The Mandel Co. claims Depp consistently lies to the public and to authorities, and relies on his “army of attorneys” to get him out of legal jams. While they don’t get into detail about these alleged incidents, the business managers plan on revealing everything at trial.
“Depp’s 45-page complaint against TMG, which is replete with demonstrably false and fraudulent allegations, was filed solely to avoid the non-judicial foreclosure of his properties,” wrote Kump. “And is just another example of Depp’s pattern of habitual lies and deception designed to avoid responsibility for his actions.”
Kump further suggests that Depp undergo some sort of mental-health evaluation because of his alleged erratic, unpredictable behaviour.
“In retrospect, it appears that Depp may suffer from a compulsive spending disorder, which will be proven in this action through a mental examination of Depp … and expert testimony. On information and belief, Depp’s flagrant bragging about his senseless and extreme spending to The Wall Street Journal is further evidence of his psychological issues.”
Last week, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Depp fired back at his ex-managers and defended himself. He also justified his spending.
“Why didn’t they drop me as a client if I was so out of control?” he said. “I’ve worked very, very hard for a lot of years and trusted a lot of people, some who’ve clearly let me down. It’s my money. If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing.”
Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, responded to the new complaint on Monday evening.
“Accused of criminal malfeasance and theft totalling tens of millions of dollars, in a case with a whistleblower from the Mandels’ own firm whose testimony and documents they fight to hide, the defendants decided their only defense is psychobabble,” writes Waldman. “This is how guilty people respond when confronted with the detailed results of a nine-month legal and forensic investigation conducted by four firms.”
The Mandel Co. contends that they have provided sufficient evidence of Depp’s lavish spending, including the $75 million he spent on 14 homes around the world, and the $5 million he spent blasting late journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon (which was a request in the author’s will) — Depp clarified that he did, in fact, spend $5 million, not $3 million, as we previously reported.
Other alleged expenditures include:
- $30,000/month on buying and importing wine
- $200,000/month on private jets
- $18 million on a 45-metre yacht
- $4 million on a failed record label
- $300,000/month for a staff of 40 people
- $150,000/month on 24/7 security
- An undisclosed amount to maintain 12 storage facilities to house his Hollywood memorabilia collection
Depp is set to appear in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge, set for release in May, and the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, scheduled to open in 2018.