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Fear and Loathing in the Hollywood Hills

If you thought your Optus bill was unjustifiably high, spare a thought for Johnny Depp and his ever-mounting financial woes.

While the actor’s profile has been put through the wringer lately, thanks to a sudden ‘ill’ look and out-of-it behaviour, it has been absolutely thrashed so far as legal dramas are concerned.

In attempt to set the record straight, Depp’s lawyer and ‘close friend’, Adam Waldman, pitched to Rolling Stone magazine that they write a story about his celebrity buddy, offering RS a one-on-one with the star to settle “the injustice being done to Depp’s reputation and bottom line”.

What they probably didn’t realise was that RS would only add 10,000 more damaging words to Johnny’s tarnished portfolio.

The article is so vast in its outlining of Depp’s legal dramas, it half-reads like the notes you see in fine print at the bottom of a contract, the yukky fiscal ones you can’t be bothered to read. But read them you do, because between all the legal palaver, journo Stephen Rodrick throws so much shade at his Hollywood subject, it’s quite the entertaining read. Indeed you wonder what clout celebrities possess these days, if any clout at all.

The article depicts Depp as some decadent lost soul trapped in material hell at the foot of the Hollywood Hills, an avalanche of debt crashing down around him.

Way too many legal points to list here, we’ll sum it up by saying Depp is in deep shit.

He has legal cases filed up to his eyeballs. He’s suing his former management company TMG for mismanagement of funds. They’re suing him for misspending (former financial guide Joel Mandel describes Depp as a spoiled brat whose decadent spending is way out of control). He is countersuing them. They’re countersuing him. And so on.

Mandel claims Depp never had more than six months’ worth of savings in the bank, which ironically grew worse following the success Pirates of the Caribbean (earning him around $300 million in total, that franchise alone).

But here’s what we know Johnny spent some of that money on… US$75 million on over a dozen residential properties. Three million to have the ashes of his dead friend Hunter S. Thompson shot out of a cannon (Depp played Hunter in the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas then became drug-taking buddies with him). A silly $7,000 to purchase a couch from the set of Keeping Up With the Kardashians for his daughter. Over $200,000 a month on private air travel. Forty-five luxury vehicles, 70 guitars, 200 pieces of art including Warhols and Basquiats. Hundreds and thousands on prescription and recreational drugs. And of course millions spent on attorneys.

Yet Johnny laughs much of these figures off, indeed saying they’re deflated.

“It’s insulting to say I spent $30,000 on wine because it was far more” and “by the way, it was not $3 million to shoot Hunter into the fucking sky, it was $5 million,” he told his interviewer.

Johnny’s retractors are suggesting that the source of his issues is psychiatric and that he may suffer from a compulsive-spending disorder, which they intend to prove in court.

As if we’d need a judge and jury to blame psychosis when we’ve always known this hatter was utterly mad. Antonino Tati & Michael Mastess


Interesting factoid about this victim of compulsive spending: The first thing Johnny Depp bought with his very first pay cheque in the late ’80s was a house for his mother. He then treated himself to a 1940 Harley-Davidson which he still owns.

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