WASHINGTON, May 20 ― Johnny Depp was jealous, controlling and frequently drunk, and once threw a wine bottle in his hotel room in Las Vegas, his former girlfriend, the actress Ellen Barkin, said in pre-recorded testimony yesterday.
Barkin, 68, testifying as a witness in the defamation suit filed by Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard, said she had a brief “sexual relationship” with Depp in the 1990s.
Barkin's testimony was videotaped in November 2019 and played for the seven-person jury hearing the defamation case in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.
The jury also heard testimony from Depp's former talent agent, his former business manager, and the agent for the 36-year-old Heard, who has accused Depp of domestic abuse.
The 58-year-old Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard or any other woman and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.
Barkin said that during the several months they were together, Depp was often drunk and was exceedingly jealous.
“He was drunk a lot of the time,” she said. “He was a red wine drinker.” “He's just a jealous man, controlling ― 'Where are you going? Who are you going with? What did you do last night?'” she 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.” Barkin recounted an incident during the filming of the 1998 movie “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” “Mr Depp threw a wine bottle across the room, the hotel room in Las Vegas,” she said.
“I don't know why he threw the bottle,” Barkin said, although she recalled that Depp may have had an argument with friends or with his assistant.
Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard, who had a starring role in Aquaman, did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking US$50 million (RM220 million) in damages.
The Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for US$100 million and claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at his hands.
Depp's former agent and business manager testified that the actor's career and finances were already in serious trouble before Heard first accused him of domestic violence in 2016.
Tracey Jacobs, Depp's former agent, said he “became the biggest star in the world” during the decades she represented him in Hollywood.
But his reputation had begun to dim after 2010 because of “unprofessional behaviour,” Jacobs said, including drug and alcohol use and consistently showing up late on set.
“Crews don't love sitting around for hours and hours and hours waiting for the star of the movie to show up,” she said. “It's a small community and it made people reluctant to use him toward the end.” Jacobs said Depp was in such “financial desperation” in January 2016 that he came to the agency and asked for US$20 million.
Josh Mandel, Depp's former business manager, said he became “extremely concerned” about Depp's financial situation in 2015.
Depp was spending US$300,000 a month on full-time staff at one point.
There were “constant” conversations about curbing his spending, he said, but it “never seemed to happen.” Jessica Kovacevic, Heard's agent, said the “constant tweets and negativity” against the actress after she accused Depp of abuse have severely damaged her career.
Mandel was fired by Depp in 2016 and subsequently sued by the actor. They settled the case in 2018.
Jacobs was fired by Depp in 2016.
Depp's lawyers put experts on the stand who testified that the actor lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalised two years later.
Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 27. ― AFP