Johnny Depp's Agent Claims Actor Lost $22.5 Million Payday for 'Pirates 6' After Amber Heard's Op-Ed

Johnny Depp's agent claimed to have made a verbal deal that the actor would be paid $22.5 million for a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which never came to fruition

Johnny Depp's talent agent says fallout from Amber Heard's 2018 op-ed about domestic violence was "catastrophic" for the movie star's career.

Jack Whigham, Depp's talent manager from Creative Artists Agency, testified on Monday, speaking on how the Washington Post opinion piece published in December 2018 damaged Depp's reputation in Hollywood.

Depp, 58, is suing ex-wife Heard for defamation over the article, in which Heard wrote about becoming "a public figure representing domestic abuse" but did not mention Depp by name. The $50 million lawsuit was originally filed in 2019 but was delayed due to the pandemic.

Whigham said that he had "closed a deal" for Depp to star in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 for $22.5 million. He said, however, that in early 2019 it "became clear [producers at Disney] were going in a different direction" that did not include Depp. (It was previously announced that Margot Robbie would lead a rebooted entry of the Pirates franchise.)

"After the op-ed, it was impossible to get him a studio film, which is what we normally would have been focussed on in that time period," said Whigham.

Reps for Disney didn't immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

When Heard's attorney said in cross-examination that there was no written proof or contract stating Depp would return for a sixth Pirates movie, Whigham said he'd sometimes done verbal agreements about pricing for a client's pay in a potential project.

"It would be fair to say I have never seen a document ... I have not seen '22 million' written down on a page, you're correct about that," Whigham admitted.

Depp resigned from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a Warner Bros. property, in November 2020 after losing his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

Johnny Depp

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Heard and Depp met while making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary, and they married in 2015. They broke up in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016.

Concluding his testimony last week, Depp — who has said multiple times under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman — said that, after Heard's allegations against him, he lost "nothing short of everything."

Amber Heard listens in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia

He has testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in this trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard — who is expected to take the stand later this week — said in a statement that "hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world."

Depp made five Pirates of the Caribbean movies with Disney, most recently 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales. Depp, who scored an Oscar nomination for playing Capt. Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates, said he had wanted to give the character a "proper goodbye" and that he planned to keep making Pirates movies "until it was time to stop."

While discussing his falling out with Disney executives, however, Depp said he felt he'd become "guilty until proven innocent." The star said on the stand that he would not work with Disney again, even if they offered him $300 million.

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