Johnny Depp’s legal team called the British model Kate Moss, a former girlfriend, to testify on Wednesday in his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard to rebut a rumor Ms. Heard had alluded to earlier in court suggesting that Mr. Depp had pushed Ms. Moss down the stairs in the 1990s.
Ms. Heard had made the reference while testifying about a fight in 2015 in which, she said, she struck Mr. Depp because he had swung at her sister while she was standing at the top of a staircase.
“I just, in my head, instantly think of Kate Moss and the stairs and I swung at him,” Ms. Heard said.
In Ms. Moss’s brief testimony over a video call, she recalled slipping down the stairs at a resort in Jamaica during their relationship, which she said lasted from 1994 to 1998.
“There had been a rainstorm and as I left the room I slid down the stairs and I hurt my back,” Ms. Moss said. “He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention.”
Ms. Moss denied that Mr. Depp ever pushed her down the stairs.
“He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs,” Ms. Moss said.
Ms. Heard had alluded to the “rumor” she had heard about Mr. Depp pushing Ms. Moss down the stairs in an earlier trial in Britain in 2020 that was associated with the question of whether Mr. Depp had physically abused his wife. In that case, Mr. Depp sued a British tabloid company and editor after The Sun newspaper called him a “wife beater” in a headline. The judge in that case found that Mr. Depp had assaulted Ms. Heard repeatedly during their marriage and that he had put her “in fear of her life.”
Ms. Moss did not testify during the proceeding in London. But Mr. Depp’s legal team chose to call her as a witness in this trial after Ms. Heard again referred to Ms. Moss in the courtroom. When she did, on May 5, Mr. Depp’s lead lawyer, Benjamin Chew, pumped his fist, appearing to celebrate the mention, which opened the door for Ms. Moss to be called to testify about her relationship with Mr. Depp.
Ms. Heard has accused Mr. Depp of repeated physical abuse, as well as several instances of sexual assault, during their relationship and has said that she only ever hit her ex-husband in defense of herself or her sister. Mr. Depp has denied ever hitting or sexually assaulting Ms. Heard, and has described her as the abuser in the relationship.
Earlier in the trial, Ms. Heard’s lawyers called Ellen Barkin, with whom Mr. Depp was also romantically involved in the 1990s, to testify. Ms. Barkin called him a “controlling” and “jealous man,” recounting an incident in a Las Vegas in which, she said, Mr. Depp threw a wine bottle across a hotel room. She said there had been a fight going on between Mr. Depp and other people in the room, but she could not remember the cause of it.
Johnny Depp’s Libel Case Against Amber Heard
In the courtroom. A defamation trial involving the formerly married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is currently underway in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia. Here is what to know about the case:
In this case, Mr. Depp, 58, sued Ms. Heard, 36, for defamation over her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she said her career suffered after she became “public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article did not mention Mr. Depp by name, but he has asserted that its allusions to their relationship “devastated” his acting career.
The seven-person jury is also considering Ms. Heard’s countersuit, which claimed that Mr. Depp defamed her when his former lawyer made statements to the British tabloid The Daily Mail saying that her abuse accusations were a hoax.
Ms. Heard has testified that Mr. Depp had a pattern of jealousy-fueled rages, which she said often coincided with his drug and alcohol use and were precipitated by his suspicions that she was having affairs, which she has repeatedly denied. She said that during their relationship, Mr. Depp punched, slapped and kicked her, as well as tore clumps of hair out of her head and sexually assaulted her with a bottle.
Mr. Depp testified over four days earlier in the trial, describing Ms. Heard as someone with a “need for conflict” and a “need for violence.” Issues that he said she had lashed out at him physically over included a potential postnuptial agreement, her desire for Mr. Depp to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and his tardiness to her 30th birthday dinner.
Mr. Depp is expected to be called back to the stand on Wednesday.