Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Kate Moss testified on May 25 that ex-boyfriend Johnny Depp “never pushed me, kicked me, or threw me down any stairs.” Rather, she said that he came to her rescue after what she described as a nasty fall during a vacation. Depp’s team called Moss as a rebuttal witness in his defamation trial against his former wife, Amber Heard. Depp and Heard have both accused each other of abuse, and Heard testified on May 5 about a rumored domestic incident between him and the supermodel, when the stars dated in the 1990s. “Ms. Moss, do you know Johnny Depp?” his attorney, Ben Chew, asked. “Yes,” Moss replied with a slight smile. Moss, who took the stand via video from Gloucester, appeared fresh-faced and wore a dark jacket and white shirt for her testimony. She said that she and Depp had a romantic relationship from 1994 to 1998. “Ms. Moss, did there come a time while you were a couple that the two of you took a vacation together to the GoldenEye resort in Jamaica?” She responded in the affirmative. “What, if anything, happened?” Chew continued. “We were leaving the room and Johnny left the room before I did, and there had been a rainstorm, and as I left the room, I slipped down the stairs and I hurt my back,” Moss said. “And I screamed, because I didn’t know what happened to me, and I was in pain, and he came running back to help me and carried me to my room, and got me medical attention.” Chew pressed: “Did Mr. Depp push you, in any way, down the stairs?” “No,” Moss said. Heard’s team did not cross-examine Moss.
When Depp took the stand again today as part of his rebuttal case, he was asked about the rumor and its origins. What happened, Depp said, “is what she said happened,” referring to Moss. Depp said he recalled telling Heard the story. “Ms. Heard took the story and turned it into a very ugly incident, all in her mind,” Depp said. “There was never a moment where I pushed Kate down a set of stairs — and yet she’s spewed this three times before.” Depp was asked what he specifically told Heard about the stairs incident. “Very simply that we were in Jamaica; I had left our bungalow about three minutes prior to her. I was standing outside and suddenly rain starts just coming down like it’s a monsoon, and then I remember looking to Kate coming out the door,” Depp said. “And there were three little wooden stairs, and she slipped. Her legs came up and she landed on her coccyx. She was obviously physically in pain. She was hurt. She was crying. So I ran over to grab her to make sure she was alright.” Depp continued: “That’s it. That’s all I ever — that’s the whole story, and, um, the rumor of it, I’d never heard a rumor like that before Ms. Heard grabbed hold of it.”
The saga of Moss’s involvement in Depp and Heard’s ever tawdry trial is a bit convoluted. Heard claimed that she struck Depp in the face during an argument in the spring of 2015, scared that he would throw her sister, Whitney, down the stairs. “I don’t hesitate, don’t wait. I just, in my head, instantly think of Kate Moss and stairs, and I swung at him …” Heard had also name-dropped Moss during Depp’s U.K. defamation trial against The Sun newspaper, where she reportedly recalled hearing a rumor that he had pushed an ex-girlfriend — whom she thought was Moss — down stairs. On May 17, Heard was asked on cross to explain her mention of Moss. “You thought he was going to throw your sister down the stairs like he had thrown Kate Moss down the stairs, right?” one of Depp’s lawyers pressed, in reference to the allegation. Heard answered, “I’ve heard a rumor, big rumor, about that.” By naming Moss, Heard effectively paved the way, from a legal standpoint, for Depp’s lawyers to call her as a witness. Moss’s account of her time with Depp also provides a counternarrative to his behavior as a romantic partner. Heard presented jurors with video-deposition testimony from Ellen Barkin, who went out with Depp briefly in the 1990s. Barkin described Depp as an immensely “jealous” boyfriend who was frequently inebriated. She also claimed that Depp threw a bottle during a dispute with someone in his inner circle in a Las Vegas hotel room.