As you know, Johnny Depp and his former managers, The Management Group (TMG), are suing each other. He says they mishandled his money and stole from him. They say he lost all his money all by himself. And now TMG is asking that emails sent to and from Johnny and his agent and lawyer be admitted as evidence because they supposedly prove that they kept Johnny informed about his financial situation and that he was well aware that “sacrifices” would have to be made to turn it around.

The Hollywood Reporter has all the details and you can read their thorough analysis, in addition to the paperwork there. But Page Six has a pretty good summary:

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star’s desperate bid to climb out of debt was revealed as part of his ongoing $25 million lawsuit against his former business managers The Management Group and its principal Joel Mandel. Depp has accused them of mismanaging his money — but Mandel and TMG have countersued, saying the actor was aware of his dire situation the entire time.

In an email exchange from December 2009 that was just made public, Mandel warned the cash-strapped “Edward Scissorhands” actor to “take it easy on holiday spending” and told him they need to meet to “look realistically at income and expenses and work together on how to make sure that these are back in balance,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The famous dad of two, 54, wrote back a day later, saying he was “doing my very best on holiday spending but there is only so much i can do, as i need to give my kiddies and famille [sic] as good a Christmas as possible, obviously within reason.”

“What else can i do??? you want me to sell some art??? i will. you want me to sell something else??? sure… what???” Depp wrote. “i got bikes, cars, property, books, paintings and some semblance of a soul left. where would you like me to start???”

But he was firm about not getting rid of his plane.

“A commercial flight with paparazzis in tow would be a f—ing nightmare of monumental proportions,” he wrote. “I don’t like being in this situation, but there wasn’t a whole lot of choice, as THE RUM DIARY was a sacrifice we knew would be happening and the last proper paycheck was PUBLIC ENEMIES. i will do my best, joel,” Depp added.

Depp made a combined $75 million from “The Tourist” in 2010, the fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film and “Dark Shadows,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

All of these email exchanges seem to have taken place around 2009/10 which, to me at least, is kind of ironic because Johnny was ranked #1 on the list of Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors at the time. And that might give us some insight into this mess too. Because that was before he had back to back to back to back flops at the box office. And you get the sense that there was still a lot of confidence about how easy it would be to line up two or three more major paycheques relatively quickly. Here’s an email from Johnny to TMG that reflects that:

“Know that I will be starting THE TOURIST on our about the 15th of February, which will be 20 mil. I will then go, virtually, straight into PIRATES 4 for 35 mil, and then in turn to DARK SHADOWS for another 20 mil. I hope that by the amount that will be coming in from work in the coming year and also from back end proceeds, will put everything straight.”

Of course none of this means that TMG didn’t take money that wasn’t theirs to take. But it does speak to awareness. We’ve heard over and over again stories about stars who were oblivious as to what their excesses were costing them and being taken advantage of by snake oil salesmen who exploited their ignorance. One of the most famous examples of this is Elvis Presley and Colonel Tom Parker. Colonel Tom always denied that he f-cked around with Elvis’s money and insisted that he only acted in Elvis’s best interests. But when he died, Elvis was left with almost none of what he’d earned during his career. Colonel Tom made dumbass decisions but those decisions were, in part, possible because Elvis was immature, undisciplined, and irresponsible and naïve (basically a child his whole life) and generally incapable of taking care of business – which is, you know, crazy and terribly sad since, well, he was all about “TCB” and the lightning bolt.

That, however, is clearly not Johnny Depp, at least not judging by these emails. To me it isn’t so much that Johnny was incapable but that he just didn’t want to be. I know I should spend less money on Christmas, but I don’t want to. I could stop flying private but I don’t want to. Elvis didn’t know from “should” and “could”. It would appear, from these emails, that Johnny Depp did.

Attached - Johnny Depp arriving in Tokyo yesterday.