Fame and celebrity

Johnny Depp sues former managers for US$25m as divorce with Amber Heard finalises

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 January, 2017, 12:06pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 January, 2017, 9:34pm

Johnny Depp sued his former business managers on Friday alleging they mismanaged his earnings throughout a lucrative period of his career, although the company says the actor’s spending is to blame.

Depp’s lawsuit against his former mangers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against The Management Group seeks more than US$25 million, alleging its owners failed to properly pay his taxes, made unauthorised loans and overpaid for security and other services.

Michael J. Kump, an attorney for The Management Group, calls Depp’s lawsuit a “fabrication” and wrote in a statement that Depp never alleged any wrongdoing. The company “did everything possible to protect Depp from his irresponsible and profligate spending,” Kump wrote.

Having his request for entry of the dissolution judgment granted today made it a particularly lucky Friday the 13th
Depp’s attorney Laura Wasse

Depp’s lawsuit accuses the company and its owners, attorneys Joel and Robert Mandel, of receiving US$28 million in payments for their services over the roughly 16 years they managed his finances. The company “actively concealed the true state of Mr Depp’s finances while driving him deeper and deeper into financial distress”, the lawsuit states.

Depp hired the Mandels in 1999 and their compensation was not subject to a written contract, his lawsuit states. It states they received 5 per cent of his income on hit films such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise and other major releases, including Alice in Wonderland and the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It alleges the company failed to file Depp’s tax returns on time, costing him nearly US$5.7 million in penalties. The lawsuit also alleges the company overpaid for several services, including forgetting to terminate the lease on a home where Depp’s mother lived temporarily, and spending US$8 million on security between 2012 and 2015 alone.

Depp’s learned of the problems after hiring a new management company in March 2016, the complaint states.

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Kump wrote that Depp owes The Management Group US$4.2 million from a US$5 million loan they provided the actor. “His tactics and lawsuit will fail, and he will be forced to pay back the loan as promised,” Kump wrote.

The lawsuit came on the same day Depp finalised his divorce from actress Amber Heard. Their divorce judgment calls for the actor to pay his ex-wife US$7 million in instalments – which she has earmarked for two charities – while allowing him to keep numerous properties and vehicles.

“We are all pleased to put this unpleasant chapter in Mr Depp and his family’s lives behind them,” his attorney Laura Wasser wrote in a statement. “Having his request for entry of the dissolution judgment granted today made it a particularly lucky Friday the 13th.”

The couple has no children together, but Heard will keep their dogs, Pistol and Boo, and a horse named Arrow.

The judgment splits up several other assets, including cars and property. Neither actor will receive spousal support, and a confidentiality provision calls for them to refrain from discussing their relationship in interviews or on social media.

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Heard’s lawyer Pierce O’Donnell said the actress wanted the case to end immediately. “My client would be very happy to move on with her life,” O’Donnell said.

The judgment ends a marriage that lasted less than two years. The pair met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary and married in February 2015, but separated in May 2016.

“Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,” the actors said in a joint statement released after Heard dismissed her restraining order petition. “Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”