He blames Johnny Depp’s downfall on the Heard mentality.
Following Wednesday’s explosive verdict in the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp trial, the “Aquaman” actress’ former private investigator, Paul Barresi, weighed in on the ex-flames’ relationship, suggesting that Heard used Depp to get ahead in Hollywood, among other claims.
“Amber in some respects was an opportunist on par with everyone else,” the 74-year-old Hollywood fixer told the Daily Mail in the wake of the defamation case, which saw Depp, 58, get awarded more than $10 million — a decision that his ex plans to appeal.
Heard, 36, had originally hired the PI to dig up dirt on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star ahead of their trial, according to the Daily Mail.
“When Amber hired me, she wanted proof that Johnny was a serial abuser for women,” said Barresi, who was previously enlisted by another client to probe unfounded claims that Tom Cruise had a gay affair.
The celebrity Sherlock Holmes subsequently interviewed over 100 of Depp’s former associates — some of whom had collaborated with the actor on films going back three decades — in an effort to incriminate the actor.
But despite his meticulous sleuthing, the dirt-digger was unable to “find another woman who said Johnny abused them,” and he was consequently sacked by “The Rum Diary” star Heard.
Nonetheless, Barresi was so fascinated with the case that he decided to probe Depp on his own in an effort to exhume some of the celeb’s potential skeletons.
His ensuing Depp dive, which included interviews with the “Donnie Brasco” actor’s friends. found that the A-lister was frequently preyed upon by so-called friends. These celebrity lampreys persuaded the Jack Sparrow actor to foot the bill for everything from their rent to their house payments, cars and even legal fees.
“Johnny was besieged by people who ingratiated themselves into his domain,” Barresi claimed. “Once they were there, they’d scratch his back with one hand while the other took in the feed.
“All of the people around him have been on the take for so many years,” he added.
Barresi alleged that one of the most egregious leeches was his ex-wife Heard, who he said “obviously knew his power in Hollywood and she seized upon that power in the hopes of furthering her career.”
Another offender, per the PI, was none other than Depp’s childhood friend Isaac Baruch, who testified on the star’s behalf during the case. “He’s the worst of all,” said Barresi. “He’s been living off Johnny his entire adult life.
“At the end of the day, in Hollywood, it’s who you know and who’s pulling for you,” the Tinseltown detective further suggested. “Because for every part in a movie there are 2,000 people equally competent to handle that role.”
However, Barresi didn’t totally lay the blame on Heard and other opportunists. He said that while Depp was a so-called “king in the realm of entertainment,” he also presented an easy target for hucksters due to his “passive attitude.” Also problematic was the dramatist’s tumultuous childhood, which saw him move from a small town in Kentucky to Hollywood and allegedly suffer abuse at the hands of his volatile and violent mom, Betty Sue Palmer Depp.
“He grew up to be a sensitive, fragile man,” Barresi claimed. “He didn’t have the role models to champion him.”
As a result, the movie star allegedly acted financially irresponsibly, shelling out more than $2 million a month to fund his lavish lifestyle — of which $100,000 was spent on drug addiction doctors, per the Daily Mail — which eventually landed the actor in a financial quagmire. In turn, the Golden Globe winner reportedly opened himself up to getting fleeced by wolves in friends’ clothing.
“His ruin was in part by his own doing,” claimed Barresi, who said he “interviewed so many people who said there are many people who took advantage of Johnny.”
The PI postulated that the “Nightmare on Elm Street” star might have even felt “guilty because he made so much money and he feels like he has to take care of these people.” Depp was especially susceptible to deception due to his drug habit, according to Barresi, suggesting it distracted him from the issues going on under his nose.
Barresi ultimately blamed Depp’s downfall on the “grifters, these wannabes, these freeloaders” who surrounded the actor.
“They would insinuate into Johnny’s life,” Barresi claimed. “They would milk him for whatever he was worth — not so much materialistically or monetarily but emotionally.
“That’s what he’s lived with for decades,” he concluded.
His bombshell statements come after Depp was awarded more than $10 million in his defamation case Wednesday. A jury in Fairfax, Virginia. found Heard liable for defaming Depp, 58, in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse. The jury also found Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers but only awarded her $2 million in damages.
However, experts said it’ll be a while before the actress has to pay any money.
“No one will be writing any checks until the case is finally resolved — whether it’s on appeal or motions for new trial, but there is going to be more litigation before we know who’s getting paid what,” former California judge and current criminal defense lawyer Halim Dhanidina told The Post.
Meanwhile, the actress’ lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, confirmed that Heard would appeal after the jury found her liable on all of Depp’s claims against her — while only finding him liable on one of her counterclaims.
“She has some excellent grounds for [appeal],” Bredehoft told “Today” show co-anchor Savanah Guthrie.
“She was demonized here,” she added. “A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused.”