Former Friends star Lisa Kudrow took the stand in court yesterday to testify against her former manager Scott Howard, who is claiming that Kudrow owes him $1.7 million.
The duo parted ways in 2007, and it wasn’t until a year later, in 2008, that Howard filed a suit claiming that Kudrow refused to pay him more than $50,000 of her earnings from her run on Friends as well as her later projects.
On Wednesday, in a Los Angeles courtroom, Howard explained that he and Kudrow had made an oral agreement in 1991. The agreement stated that Howard was to receive a ten percent cut of all of Kudrow’s income that she made while he was still her manager.
Kudrow starred on the hit comedy from 1994 to 2004 as the eccentric personality of Phoebe. When she started the show, she was one of the lowest paid actors of the six (Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Mathew Perry, and David Schwimmer), making only $13,500 per episode. It wasn’t until 2000 that Kudrow began making big money at $1,040,000 million per episode. Also in 2000, she received $5 million in back-end compensation.
On Thursday, Kudrow revealed that she had originally stated that she only wanted to pay Howard commission on the first round of residuals. Howard disputed the claim by saying: “I can’t agree. I don’t do that for any of my clients.”
“For me it was a small ask,” Kudrow explained to the jury. She described her move as a “gesture… as the residuals for the first run were the ones that make the money.”
In 2004, Kudrow realized that she no longer needed a manager, but did not want to simply fire Howard since they had been working together for so many years.
I felt like I didn’t really need Scott anymore. I didn’t want to fire him as I didn’t think it would be fair. A lot of people were firing their managers and told me I was being an idiot for not doing so. I think I wanted him to know that having a manager was unnecessary but I was going to keep him anyway – I just wanted a gesture.
That same year, Kudrow decreased Howard’s commission from ten percent to five percent. “My intention was I didn’t think it was fair that Scott got more than the agents,” Kudrow said. “I felt like the attorneys did so much towards making these deals that it seemed fair that no one got a higher share than the attorney.”
Kudrow eventually fired Howard in 2007. Now, Howard is wanting his cut of her income since their spilt. However, Kudrow says that she has “no obligation” to pay Howard.
What do you think about the lawsuit? Should Kudrow have to pay Howard? Leave your comments below.
[Image via Bing]