Johnny Depp Lost $22.5 Million ‘Pirates 6’ Deal After Amber Heard’s Op-Ed, His Agent Says

Johnny's Depp's agent testified the mega-star was about to earn tens of millions for yet another sequel to 'Pirates of the Caribbean' before Amber Heard wrote her op-ed.

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Johnny Depp was set to earn over $22 million for Pirates of the Caribbean 6, his agent testified in court Monday, May 2. Jack Whigham repped the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star beginning at Creative Artists Agency and said that the opinion piece written by ex-wife Amber Heard and published in the Washington Post in December 2018 was nothing short of “catastrophic” for Johnny, according to Variety“After the op-ed it was impossible to get him a studio film,” Jack stated during his testimony, which is currently being held in Fairfax, Virginia.

Johnny Depp in court
Johnny Depp appears in court. (Steve Helber/AP/Shutterstock)

The agent said that Johnny planned to continue the massively successful franchise, but that Disney abruptly went “in a different direction” after Amber’s article about domestic violence was published. Amber’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, took issue with the testimony, saying that the star never actually had a 22.5 million contract in writing — and referenced earlier testimony that indicated the Johnny was already unlikely to be cast by Disney for the film in autumn of 2018.

Jack shot back that while Disney may have expressed hesitance, mega-producer Jerry Bruckheimer was casting a powerful vote for the 21 Jump Street alum. “It was trending badly in the late fall on behalf of Disney,” Whigham conceded on the stand. “But Jerry Bruckheimer and I were lobbying to make it happen, and so we had hope. And it became clear to me in early 2019 that it was over.” The comments echoed the testimony of another former agent, Christian Carino.

Johnny, 58, and Amber, 36, are embroiled in a high-profile defamation case — he’s suing her for $50 million, claiming that her op-ed damaged his career. In response, Amber has counter-sued for $100 million, stating that the Ed Wood actor engaged in a campaign of “abuse and harassment,” according to Page Six. “Not content to let the jury decide this lawsuit, Mr. Depp and/or his agents acting on his behalf have orchestrated a false and defamatory smear campaign,” the Aquaman star alleged in her countersuit.

Amber Heard in court
Amber Heard in court. (Steve Helber/AP/Shutterstock)

The trial, which began April 11, has pulled the curtain back on lurid personal details for the two actors, who were married for 15 months between 2015 and 2017. Among other details are allegations that Johnny exposed his genitalia while urinating in the foyer of a private home, Amber defecated in the bed they once shared, and Johnny’s finger was allegedly “severed” during an altercation involving a vodka bottle.

Disturbing text messages Johnny allegedly wrote about Amber were read aloud in the court on Apr. 13. In the texts, sent to Isaac Baruch, Johnny called Amber a “c—t” and said he hoped her “rotting corpse was decomposing in the f–king trunk of a Honda Civic.”  Baruch wrote off the texts as innocuous, but others sent to Paul Bettany are equally graphic. “I’m not sure we should burn Amber. She is delightful company and pleasing on the eye. We could of course do the English course of action and perform a drowning test. Thoughts? You have a swimming pool,” Paul texted to Johnny back in 2013. Johnny responded by texting, “Let’s drown her before we burn her.”

Johnny previously lost a libel suit against The Sun in 2020 — he sued them for referring to him as a “wife beater,” but his case didn’t stick and Johnny subsequently resigned from the Fantastic Beasts franchise at the behest of Warner Bros. On Nov. 2, 2020, Justice Andrew Nicol ruled that the newspaper and its publisher “have shown that what they published … was substantially true. I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.”