Johnny Depp not only smuggled infamous pups Pistol and Boo into Australia, but also a mysterious sound engineer to feed him lines on set.
At least, that’s what the Hollywood heartthrob’s former managers would have you believe.
Earlier this year, the Pirates of the Caribbean star filed a lawsuit against his ex-business managers, claiming US$33 million (NZ$47m) in damages. Depp alleged his former associates mismanaged his earnings throughout his career.
However, TMG isn’t going down without a fight. The company has argued Depp is responsible for his own financial problems thanks to some ultra-extravagant spending on everything from luxury homes, cars to garages full of Hollywood memorabilia.
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TMG represented Depp from 1999 until 2016, taking a 5 per cent slice of his income.
Now, the legal spat has gotten uglier. TMG filed an amended cross-complaint on Monday, in which it claimed Depp spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a sound engineer to feed him lines on set.
The amended counter-claim hopes to paint Depp as someone who is too entitled to memorise all of his lines (and therefore take responsibility for his own actions).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the amended claim insists Depp “listened to no one” when it came to suggestions he rein in this “extravagant” spending.
“He demanded they [TMG and his other advisors] fund a lifestyle that was extravagant and extreme,” TMG’s lawyer Michael Kump wrote. “Ultimately, Depp and/or his sister and personal manager Elisa Christie Dembrowski knowingly approved all of Depp’s expenditures.”
The claim also slams Depp’s “pattern of habitual lies” and calls for the actor to submit a mental health evaluation as part of the legal proceedings.
Depp’s former managers have also alleged the actor spent millions of dollars in “hush money” on secret legal settlements.
The amended filing states the 53-year-old actor paid huge sums, “to bail him out of numerous legal crises including making a series of hush money settlements”.
Depp alleges that after hiring new representatives he discovered TMG managers had failed to pay his taxes on time, collected US$28 million (NZ$40.3m) in improper fees, and loaned out his money without authorisation.
Responding to the new claims, the actor’s lawyer accused his ex-managers of trying to destroy his career.
“This is how guilty people respond when confronted with the detailed results of a nine month legal investigation and forensic audit conducted by four firms,” Depp’s lawyer stated.
The company’s counter-suit already detailed the star’s spending, alleging his lifestyle cost him US$2m per month, with his outgoings including the US$3m he spent on blasting the ashes of author Hunter S Thompson out of a cannon.
Depp spoke out about the case for the first time in April, and denied his spending habits were responsible for his financial woes.
“It’s my money. If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it’s my thing,” he told The Wall Street Journal.
TMG executives are seeking a minimum of US$560,000 in damages and demanding a formal declaration that the actor “is responsible for his own financial waste”.
Johnny’s new legal wrangle comes after he went through a costly divorce settlement in 2016, paying US$7m to finalise his split from actress Amber Heard.
– Sydney Morning Herald and Cover Media