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‘Difficult’ Depp threatened to sue over Heard’s nude scenes, court battle told

Producers wary of working with star, says ex-agent

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Amber Heard in court yesterday. Credit: Shaw Thew/AP

Amber Heard in court yesterday. Credit: Shaw Thew/AP

AP

Defamation trial: Johnny Depp. Credit: Shaw Thew/AP

Defamation trial: Johnny Depp. Credit: Shaw Thew/AP

AP

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Amber Heard in court yesterday. Credit: Shaw Thew/AP

Johnny Depp tried to shut down a version of the film London Fields that included nude scenes of Amber Heard, according to the actor’s former agent

Tracey Jacobs made the claim yesterday during her testimony in the ongoing defamation trial brought against Ms Heard by her ex-husband.

Jacobs began by detailing her working relationship with Mr Depp, who she represented for 30 years, saying that he became a tough client in their final years.

In video testimony to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, yesterday morning, she claimed his increasingly difficult reputation meant people around Hollywood grew “reluctant” to work with him and his “star dimmed”.

Ms Jacobs said she helped to make him “the biggest star in the world” before they suddenly parted ways in 2016.

She testified that in the last 10 years of working with Mr Depp, his “unprofessional behaviour” increased because of drug and alcohol abuse.

She claimed she noticed that he had “romanticised the entire drug culture” and had “fundamental issues with anger” that “worsened over time”.

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Ms Jacobs recounted an incident in which Mr Depp sent her an angry chain of emails regarding Ms Heard’s nude scenes in London Fields, with screenshots of the exchange shown in court.

“It is in Amber’s contract that there will be no nudity and her f***ing agents are weak and insipid,” Mr Depp wrote.

“Will you please call these motherf*****s and... get on this immediately?”

He followed it up with another email that read: “It must be shut down or I will sue them 18 ways from f***ing Sunday.

“These people are nobodies in this business and they should be made to understand that we will ruin them instantly.”

Earlier in the trial, Ms Heard alleged that Mr Depp physically attacked her over a sex scene in the same film.

According to Ms Jacobs’ testimony, Mr Depp was getting an increasingly negative reputation in Hollywood that meant producers were “reluctant to use him” in their movies.

“[He was] showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie,” she said.

“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. It’s hurting you’. And it did.”

Her testimony cast doubts on Mr Depp’s claim that he was dropped from the latest instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and had lost prospective film roles because of his former wife’s allegations of abuse.

Mr Depp is suing Ms Heard for $50m (£38.2m). He alleges that she implied he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed about domestic violence.

Ms Heard is counter-suing for $100m (£80.9m), accusing Mr Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

A former friend of Mr Depp told the libel trial yesterday that the actor “can definitely have a jealous streak in him”.

Jurors were told that the Hollywood star “would work himself up” when his former wife was “doing something that he couldn’t be around to see”.

Giving evidence was Bruce Witkin, a musician who was friends with Mr Depp for nearly 40 years.

The court listened to a video deposition, which was recorded in February and described jealous behaviour towards those Mr Depp was in a relationship with.

“He would be jealous of Nicholas Cage and Adam Ant”, Mr Witkin said about Mr Depp in reference to when former girlfriends expressed their admiration for people in the limelight.

Mr Witkin said he saw that behaviour during Mr Depp’s relationship with the French former model Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares two children, adding that “a lot of it was in his head and not reality”.

He claimed that the actor would get “inside his own head” when Ms Heard was working alongside male actors.

Addressing allegations of domestic violence, Mr Witkin said he never saw the ex-partner physically abuse each other.

However, he said he once saw bruises on Ms Heard’s arm when he and Mr Depp were working on a documentary about Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

In another instance, Mr Witkin said he saw Mr Depp with a “fat lip”.

The actor’s alleged substance abuse was also brought up during Mr Witkin’s testimony, in which he said he tried to help him by setting him up with a therapist.

“He [Mr Depp] would say, ‘I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right’. And well, [he was] not all right,” Mr Witkin told the court, recalling a conversation the pair had.

People close to Mr Depp were concerned about his wellbeing, including his sister Christi Dembrowski, his former friend told the hearing.

“Everybody, I think, deep down inside was, but ... the people on the payroll won’t really say much,” he said.

“They’ll try, but they don’t want to lose their job.

“I’m not saying they all fall into the category, but it’s a strange thing around people like him. Everybody wants something.”

Talking of their friendship, which began to break down towards the end of 2017, Mr Witkin said: “He wrote me this weird text saying I stabbed him in the back and badmouthed him. And I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He wouldn’t explain it, and I pretty much haven’t seen him since 2018.”


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