To form agent for Johnny Depp tested on Wednesday that Amber Heard‘s abuse allegations had a “traumatic impact” on Depp’s image, and cost him the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Christian Carino, a talent agent at Creative Artists Agency, appeared by video deposition at Depp’s defamation trial, which has been underway in Fairfax, Virginia since April 11.
Depp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, for US$50 million (approx. $70 million), claiming that she destroyed his career by fabricating claims of domestic violence.
READ MORE: Jared Padalecki updates fans after car accident
Carino tested that it became clear, though conversations with producer Jerry Bruckheimer and CAA co-chair Bryan Lourd, that Disney had decided it could not continue to employ Depp. Carino said that the abuse claims were never openly discussed as the reason, but that it was simply “understood” within the industry.
Carino was friends with both Heard and Depp, and represented both of them at various points, though he said he no longer has a relationship with either of them.
He tested that Depp is “one of the finest actors of his generation,” and that has not changed despite the turmoil of his life in recent years. But he also said that the lawsuits – with his former business manager, his former attorney, and with Heard – have damaged Depp’s off-screen image.
“I think what he was known for off-screen was a shroud of mystery of who he was, because he was not visible to the public,” Carino said. “It changed with the exposure that came with the lawsuits.”
READ MORE: Kenneth Tsang, James Bond star and kung fu pioneer, found dead in COVID-19 quarantine hotel
Carino was asked about the production of the fifth Pirates film, in 2015, and acknowledged that Depp was routinely late to set.
“I’m aware of him being tardy, but he’s been tardy on everything his entire life,” Carino said, adding that the production had figured out how to work around the issue.
Carino was vague about when Disney decided not to hire Depp for a potential sixth Pirates film, which remains in limbo, saying at first that he could not specify even the year when it occurred. The timing of that decision is a key issue in the case. Depp’s lawyers contend that it came just days after Heard published an op-ed, on December 18, 2018, in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard’s lawyers argue that the decision was actually made earlier.
Depp’s lawyers presented Carino with an email chain from December 20, 2018, in which Depp’s agents and publicist passed around a MovieWeb article that stated that Depp “won’t return” to the franchise.
“Were we told this officially from Disney?” Carino wrote. Jack Whigham, another agent, responded, “No.”
READ MORE: Wedding guest told choice of dress ‘inappropriate’
Carino also tested that Heard twice tried to reconcile with Depp, even after she filed for divorce – once in 2016 and again in 2017. At one point in 2016 he brokered a meeting between Heard and a reluctant Depp that ended in a fight.
He also tested briefly about Heard’s subsequent relationship with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. Heard texted Carino in 2017 professing sadness about her breakup with Musk. Carino seemed incredulous, and texted in response to Heard, “You told me a thousand times you were just filling space.”
Heard first leveled her allegations in May 2016, when she filed for divorce and sought a restraining order. The restraining order was later dropped and the couple issued a joint statement, in which they stated that neither had made false claims for financial gain.
Earlier on Wednesday, the jurors saw video depositions with two LAPD officers and a front desk employee who works at the Eastern Columbia Building, where Depp used to own several penthouses. The officers were called to the penthouses on May 21, 2016, for a report of domestic violence. Heard refused to make a report, and the officers tested they saw no evidence of injury.
Officer Tyler Hadden, one of the officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse apartment on May 21, 2016, said Heard refused to talk to officers and had no signs of an injury, although he acknowledged she’d been crying and was red-faced.
“Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes doesn’t mean something happened,” he said in a recorded deposition played for jurors Wednesday.
Reported with Variety and AP.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, subscribe to our newsletter here.
’90s teen heartthrobs: Then and now