Actor Ellen Barkin says Johnny Depp was a controlling, jealous and angry man even in the 1990s when the two dated.
Barkin recalled her relationship with Depp during a previously taped deposition that was played Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court on Thursday by lawyers for Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard.
“Where are you going?” Barkin said Depp would ask her. “Who are you going with? What did you do last night?”
Barkin said: “I had a scratch on my back once that got him very, very angry because he insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him.”
Heard’s lawyers are trying to undermine Depp’s libel lawsuit against her. Depp says a 2018 op-ed piece Heard wrote in The Washington Post unfairly portrayed him as a domestic abuser and cost him a lucrative Hollywood career that included the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Depp has testified he never struck Heard and that he was the victim of abuse inflicted by her. But Heard’s lawyers say those denials lack credibility because he frequently drank and abused drugs.
Barkin co-starred with Depp in Fear and the 1998 film Loathing in Las Vegas. She testified that Depp was “always drinking or smoking a joint” or doing other illegal drugs. She said she dated Depp for about three to five months.
Heard’s lawyers argue that Depp’s career free fall was the result of his own bad behaviour, not Heard’s op-ed. They played witness testimony that charted the actor’s rise and fall from “the biggest movie star in the world” to a man who struggled with drugs, money and the ability to show up at movie sets on time.
Tracey Jacobs, who was the actor’s agent for about 30 years, said Depp was “showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie” during their final years working together.
“I was very honest with him and said, ‘You’ve got to stop doing this. This is hurting you’,” Jacobs said. “And it did.”
Jacobs said Depp was an extraordinary talent but his behaviour in the years before he fired her in 2016 became increasingly unprofessional, while his drug and alcohol use increased.
Joel Mandel, Depp’s former business manager, testified in a recorded deposition that the Pirates of the Caribbean films had “catapulted him into an entirely different level of success”.
“It meant more employees,” Mandel said. “It meant buying additional property … It meant a bigger life and a more expensive one.”
Things began to change about 2010, and it “became clear over time that there were issues with alcohol and drugs”, Mandel said. “And that translated into more erratic behaviour, more stressful behaviour, more times when it was difficult to engage in the kinds of conversations I needed to do my job.”
At one point, Depp was spending about $US100,000 a month for a doctor and staff to help him get sober, Mandel said. At another, he was spending $US300,000 a month on full-time staff, he said. And he said there also were times when Depp spent thousands of dollars a month on prescription drugs.
“The spending levels had grown very, very, very large and required that level of incredibly high income to be maintained,” Mandel said. “And when it dropped off, the disconnect became untenable.”
Mandel said he became extremely worried about Depp’s finances in 2015, but Depp met those concerns with anger. He said the actor fired him in 2016.
Closing arguments are expected to take place on May 27.