Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard took a new turn Wednesday when his former CAA agent, Christian Carino, told the court that the actor had become unemployable in Hollywood following Heard’s allegations of abuse.
Carino, a longtime agent who previously represented Depp, said he warned the actor’s handlers that his legal disputes were becoming a “distraction” for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s career.
“People don’t want to hear that the people they look up to are in litigation,” Carino said in a videotaped deposition recorded on Jan. 19, 2021 as part of Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.
Seated in the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom on Wednesday, Depp appeared to be paying close attention as the tape was played.
Carino noted that it wasn’t just Depp’s lawsuits with Heard, or the libel claim he filed against U.K. tabloid the Sun — and lost — over an article that called him a “wife beater,” but the breathless media coverage surrounding the various litigation.
“It’s about the coverage,” Carino explained.
The talent agent added that there was a layer of mystery surrounding Depp early on, but the legal disputes made the actor front page news and exposed his personal issues for the world to see.
Carino said the nonstop coverage, including when Depp lost his case against the Sun in 2020, affected the actor’s offscreen reputation. At one point, Carino said he began to have discussions with “Pirates” producer Jerry Bruckheimer about Depp being dropped from a planned sixth film in the lucrative Disney franchise.
“The studio was having difficulty employing him,” Carino said he was told, adding that the decision was made “because of the accusations made by Amber Heard.”
The CAA agent also told the court that Depp had a problem arriving on time for work and “had been tardy on everything.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in the 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post. Heard filed a $100 million defamation counterclaim for Depp’s attorney calling her a “liar.”
The “Pirates” actor has not been a CAA client since November 2020, an individual with ties to the agency told TheWrap Wednesday.