with the actress Lisa kudrow there on the stand in her own defense in a courtroom battle with her former manager. He claims she owes him nearly $2 million of her earnings from the megahit "Friends"... See More
with the actress Lisa kudrow there on the stand in her own defense in a courtroom battle with her former manager. He claims she owes him nearly $2 million of her earnings from the megahit "Friends" and other projects. ABC's Cecilia Vega has the story. Reporter: She was center stage at a very different kind of show. Lisa Valerie kudrow. Reporter: The former "Friends" star defending herself against a lawsuit brought by had O her ex-manager who claims she owes him $1.7 million, a percentage of what the Emmy winner earns in reruns and other projects. The usually secret inner wo workings of that hit show and the millions kudrow earned from it all on full display. Even that first "Friends" contract she signed when she was a struggling actress where she earned about $13,000 an episode entered as evidence for the jury to see. I didn't like that it was the lowest paid performer on the show. They said that -- no one was going to get paid more than this. You learned later that was not the case. Right. How did you learn that? From speaking to the other actors. Reporter: Kudrow said the cast banded together and negotiated as a group to boost their pay as the show's success climbed. We all relied on each other. Reporter: In the final seasons kudrow earned more than a million per episode. The issue before the jury, whether kudrow owes her former manager, Scott Howard, money from what she earned after they parted ways. They had an oral agreement that Howard managed kudrow in exchange for a 10% cut. I believe that in the end of the day the agreement should be honored. Reporter: Despite their longtime partnership it was far from a friendly day in court after the actress who played the always sweet often ditsy phoebe repeatedly told Howard's lawyer she didn't understand his questioning, this -- You really in real life bare no relationship to the character phoebe. You mean like right now? I don't know. She was pretending to be dumb during cross-examination. You're not acting now, right? The "Friends" star camp says it has no comment until this case is closed. Cecilia Vega, ABC news, los Angeles. Something of a curious turn to discuss with Dan Abrams. How porch was this testimony? It's a rare case where the testimony of the defendant isn't that important, why? How she comes across is important. Meaning whether the jurors like her in general do they want to help her or hurt her, yes, that's important but the substance of what she is saying isn't that much at issue. Meaning it seems that they basically agreed that they had this oral contract that ended in 2007 and the question now is, is he entitled as a manager, as opposed to an agent, to the residuals? What's the difference? Well, in theory an agent is supposed to be the one that cuts the deal and as a result is entitled to everything that comes from that deal, again, in theory the manager is managing the person's career and life. The problem is in Hollywood these days managers and agents very often do the same thing, and so that's now the important legal question here is, you know, the manager is saying, look, ask other managers. A manager who helps with a deal like this is expecting to get a cut of that throughout the person's career. So then how enforceable in this case is this oral agreement? Well, believe it or not oral agreements are very enforceable. The question just becomes what was the agreement, right. So there's not a question about is an oral agreement enforceable? The question is what was the agreement specifically and that's the problem with oral agreements is you don't exactly know what the agreement was. I think we'll find out just how enforceable it was.
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