Actress Lisa Kudrow is expected to take the stand today to defend herself against a former manager who claims the “Friends” star owes him $1.7 million.
The legal dispute began in 2008, a year after they parted ways, when Kudrow’s former manager, Scott Howard, sued her for refusing to pay him more than $50,000 in fees from her earnings from the television show, “Friends” and other projects.
Howard presented his case in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday on the first day of the pair’s civil trial, claiming that, in 1991, the two made an oral agreement that Howard would receive a 10 percent cut of Kudrow’s income she obtained or performed while he was her manager.
Kudrow, 50, starred from 1994 through 2004 as Phoebe on “Friends.” She began the show as one of the lowest paid actresses among the show’s six stars – earning $13,500 per episode – but for the last 18 episodes in 2004, Kudrow made more than $1 million an episode.
In those latter years, Kudrow was entitled to 1.25 percent of profit from the show.
Howard claims that after he and Kudrow split after 16 years of working together, the actress stopped paying him and that she owes him a percentage of what she earns on “Friends” reruns and other projects.
“One of the questions that is up for debate is whether an oral agreement, which is what Lisa and her manager had, is founded,” Lacey Rose, of The Hollywood Reporter, told ABC News.
Attorneys for Kudrow say they will not speak publicly until they have presented their case to the jury.
In court documents, Kudrow claims she has, “no obligation to pay Howard” a commission after the two ended their professional partnership. Attorneys for Kudrow argue that Howard was the actress’s manager, not her agent, and thus is not entitled to a commission.
ABC News’ Susanna Kim contributed to this report.