On Wednesday, Kate Moss joined the chaos of the trial pitting Johnny Depp against Amber Heard over allegations of brutal domestic violence and defamation when she was called to the stand via video link by Depp’s team first thing in the morning.
Moss quickly—and briefly—denied a rumor about Depp pushing her down stairs that was referred to by Heard during the actress’ own testimony.
“He never pushed me, kicked me, or threw me down any stairs,” Moss said.
An ex-girlfriend of Depp’s, the supermodel was called during the actor’s rebuttal of Heard’s countersuit claims against him just before closing arguments and jury deliberations were expected in the case. It’s a turn of events that some legal observers suggested Heard invited by mentioning the ugly rumor from the ’90s couple’s past in her own testimony earlier this month: that Depp had shoved Moss down a stairwell.
Depp’s lawsuit alleges that Heard “devastated” his career after she wrote a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that did not name Depp but described herself as a domestic violence survivor—two years after she filed a temporary restraining order against the actor.
Heard has counter-sued Depp, claiming that he and his legal team launched a “smear campaign” against her after her op-ed—including claims from one former lawyer that called her domestic violence allegations “a hoax.”
During her testimony, Heard claimed that she punched Depp in March of 2015, in a fight inside their Los Angeles penthouse, and that she did so to try to protect her sister, Whitney Henriquez, from being pushed down a staircase by Depp. “I just, in my head, instantly think of Kate Moss and stairs,” Heard testified.
The Moss-Depp pairing amounted to the ’90s in a snapshot: Moss, the spectral face of Calvin Klein ads, and Depp, the raffish hero of Edward Scissorhands and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Rising stars in adjacent fields, Moss and Depp turned up often looking like a perfect album cover at movie premieres, nightclubs, and birthday parties for famous friends—“the chicest, druggiest couple since Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg,” author Maureen Callahan wrote in a biography of ‘90s fashion, Champagne Supernovas.
In public, they left a trail of paparazzi pictures for a few whirlwind years from 1994 to 1998. In private, they led an intense, stormy romance that produced rumors of more than just swings of mood.
Depp was arrested in September of 1994 for trashing a hotel room in downtown New York City. A cop called to the scene at 5:30 a.m. testified at his arraignment in Manhattan that she found him “sitting there, smoking a cigarette, cool and calm,” with Moss perched nearby in the wreckage—“glass all over the place and furniture upside down and broken table legs,” the officer said.
Alongside tabloid coverage of their lives as a non-stop party, the rumor surfaced that Depp had pushed Moss down stairs. The alleged incident was never documented like the hotel room demolition. But it persisted and surfaced in the defamation trial.
Heard’s mention of Moss set off a mini-celebration at Depp’s lawyers’ table: attorney Benjamin Chew turned and grinned at colleagues.
A “staircase incident” in Depp’s and Heard’s own relationship was the subject of testimony from several corners, including Heard, Depp, Henriquez, and Depp’s bodyguard.
It was notable as well for being the incident that produced the only independent eyewitness account of Depp hitting Heard—from Heard’s younger sister, Henriquez. She testified that Depp grabbed Heard “by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other.”
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