A newly-leaked email exchange between Johnny Depp and his former business manager shows the actor was being warned to curtail his excessive spending as far back as 2009.
The emails have surfaced in the wake of Depp's lawsuit against his former managers alleging they mismanaged his earnings throughout a lucrative period of his career as he seeks more than $US28 million. The company says the actor's spending is to blame.
The email exchange, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, took place in December 2009 and indicates that Depp was fully aware of the perilous state of his finances.
Emailing Depp on December 6, Depp's business manager Joel Mandel laid out what was needed to keep his star client's finances afloat.
He asked Depp to curtail his holiday season spending, and to set himself a dollar limit in an upcoming auction Depp was intending to bid on.
Lastly, Mandel said he needed time to sit down with Depp and formulate a financial plan: "So that we can talk about where we are financially, what we have borrowed in order to sustain ourselves, what we have had to do to obtain those borrowings, what is now necessay to pay those borrowings back and, finally, to look realistically at income and expenses and work together to make sure these are back in balance."
In his emailed response a day later, Depp agreed to forgo bidding in the auction - but argued there was little else he could do to limit his spending.
"I am doing my best on holiday spending, but there is only so much I can do," he told Mandel.
"I need to give my kiddies and famille (sic) as good a Christmas as possible, obviously within reason."
Depp went on to outline the paycheques for his next few projects:
"Know that I will be starting THE TOURIST on our about the 15th of February, which will be 20 mil. I will then go, virtually, straight into PIRATES 4 for 35 mil, and then in turn to DARK SHADOWS for another 20 mil. I hope that by the amount that will be coming in from work in the coming year and also from back end proceeds, will put everything straight."
Depp's tone became increasingly desperate later in the email.
"what else can I do??? You want me to sell some art??? you want me to sell something else??? sure ... what???" ...
"I got bikes, cars, property, books, paintings, and some semblance of a soul left. Where would you like me to start???"
Depp closed by saying that he didn't like being in this financial situation, "but there wasn't a whole lot of choice," claiming that his last "proper paycheck" had been for his starring role in 2009 crime drama Public Enemies and that he'd always known appearing in relatively low-budget drama The Rum Diaries the same year meant his finances would take a hit.
"I will do my best, joel," he signs off the email.
Depp's lawsuit accuses the company The Management Group and its owners, Joel and Robert Mandel, of receiving $US28 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.
Michael J. Kump, a lawyer for The Management Group, called 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.