Johnny Depp and His Missing Millions: Who's to Blame?

A new report says Johnny Depp was reportedly half way along to becoming a billionaire before he realized he was having financial problems

By Corinne Heller May 10, 2017 8:16 PMTags

Johnny Depp was reportedly half way along to becoming a billionaire before he realized he was having financial problems.

According to a report released by The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, the actor earned more than $650 million over a period of more than 13 years. Much of his fortune comes from playing Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates movies and he will reprise his role again in the fifth installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which hits theaters on May 26. But over the past few years, he has spent more than he could afford—and more than most people could even dream. The question is, whose fault is that?

In 2016, Depp fired his business manager and his group, The Management Group. He sued the group in January for $25 million for alleged fraud and mismanagement, claiming he only learned last year that he is $40 million in debt and blaming the company for allegedly failing to properly maintain his records and keep him informed about his finances.

The group fired back with a cross-complaint of fraud, claiming his allegations are false.

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The filing detailed some of Depp's alleged expenses over the years—he reportedly supports his family and friends, spent $3 million to blast the ashes of late friend and iconic writer Hunter Thompson out of a cannon, bought a yacht for $18 million, spent $75 million to buy and renovate 14 residences, plus $30,000 a month on wine, $200,000 a month on private planes and $300,000 a month to maintain a staff of 40 people.

"It's my money," Depp told The Wall Street Journal in April. "If I want to buy 15,000 cotton balls a day, it's my thing."

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The company stated in their filing that Depp "refused to live within his means," despite "repeated warnings about his financial condition" from his advisers. The papers allege the actor's "spending outpaced his earnings," and that "he refused to change his lifestyle" and "was forced to borrow large sums of money to continue living the lifestyle he admittedly chose." The group demands $560,000 in unpaid commissions and credit card fees and a court declaration that the company "complied with all of its fiduciary obligations under the law and that Depp is responsible for his own financial waste."

Their filing also states Depp "routinely rejected advice from his professionals," which included his decision to not get a prenup before marrying Amber Heard in 2015. They two finalized a divorce this past January, the day Depp filed his lawsuit against his management company, after an ugly and costly breakup.

A source told The Hollywood Reporter that Depp "pulled further away" from his advisers as his financial strain grew more intense and that his key reps struggled to maintain access, adding, "It became harder to find the right time to get him. In the old days, it was just [a question of] when he was free, but now it became [a matter of] finding a time when he was free and clear of mind and in the right mood. He got angry a lot. He'd scream at someone that worked at the house or his security."

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The cross-complaint states that in 2012, his lawyer and business manager had a "three-hour 'come-to-Jesus' meeting' with him about his money. Depp's lawyer maintains the actor was the person who called the meeting, The Hollywood Reporter said.

During the sit-down, the actor was told he could not afford to pay his $2 million monthly bills. The cross-complaint states Depp agreed with their recommendation to take "immediate action" to "prevent his public financial collapse" and agreed to sell his yacht and possibly other assets.

Meanwhile, the outcome of Depp's financial and legal issues could affect the relationships between other Hollywood performers and their business managers, many of which already have strained relationships.

"I believe we are on to something that will change how Hollywood business is done in the future," the actor's lawyer told The Hollywood Reporter. "If that is correct, the Depp case will have a larger meaning and effect beyond the personal interests of the parties."

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