Disney executives hated the character of Jack Sparrow and one questioned whether he was gay, Johnny Depp says.

The actor, speaking about his Pirates of the Caribbean character, said that bosses at Disney were confused and annoyed by the creation.

“They couldn’t stand him. They just couldn’t stand him,” he said.

“I think it was Michael Eisner, the head of Disney at the time, who was quoted as saying, ‘He’s ruining the movie.'”

Speaking to Patti Smith for Vanity Fair magazine, Depp, calling Disney bosses “upper-echelon Disney-ites”, said they asked: “What’s wrong with him? Is he, you know, like some kind of weird simpleton? Is he drunk? By the way, is he gay?”

Depp said: “And so I actually told this woman who was the Disney-ite… ‘But didn’t you know that all my characters are gay?’ Which really made her nervous.”

The star was promoting his new film, The Tourist, which also features Angelina Jolie.

He added that the pair had to take care not to be photographed standing too close together in case rumours began about them.