Amber Heard cross-examined about her domestic violence arrest while dating Tasya Van Ree in 2009

Prosecution ultimately declined to file charges

Amber Heard says she agreed to op-ed as she wanted to lend her voice 'great cause'

Amber Heard was asked about a 2009 arrest for alleged domestic violence while testifying in the defamation trial opposing her and Johnny Depp.

Ms Heard returned to the witness stand on Tuesday (17 May) for her fourth day of testimony. She was cross-examined by Mr Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez.

Ms Vasquez brought up claims faced by Ms Heard in 2009, when she was arrested over an alleged domestic violence incident involving her then-partner Tasya van Ree. The alleged incident was reported in 2016 by TMZ. The website wrote at the time that Ms Heard “allegedly grabbed and struck [Ms van Ree] in the arm, which upset [Ms van Ree] and triggered the arrest”.

The prosecution declined to file charges when Ms Heard appeared in court the following day, People reported in 2016.

Ms van Ree in 2016 shared a statement with Variety which read: “In 2009, Amber was wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalized by two individuals in a power position.

“I recount hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which later appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just ‘friends.’ Charges were quickly dropped and she was released moments later. It’s disheartening that Amber’s integrity and story are being questioned yet again.

“Amber is a brilliant, honest and beautiful woman and I have the utmost respect for her. We shared five wonderful years together and remain close to this day.”

When questioned by Ms Vasquez in court on Tuesday, Ms Heard denied comitting domestic violence against Ms van Ree or assaulting her. She alleged the story was “planted” after she obtained a temporary restraining order against Mr Depp in 2016.

Some experts believe Ms Vasquez was able to question Ms Heard about the allegation due to a reference Ms Heard made to Kate Moss during a previous part of her testimony.

While on the stand, Ms Heard discussed a time when she alleges Mr Depp “[swung] at” her sister while she had her back to a staircase, which she says reminded her of another incident during which she alleges Mr Depp allegedly pushed Kate Moss down stairs while they were dating in the Nineties.

Ms Heard said during Mr Depp’s 2020 trial against The Sun in the UK, per The Associated Press: “He was about to push her down the stairs and the moment before that happened, I remembered information I had heard that he pushed a former girlfriend — I believe it was Kate Moss — down the stairs.”

After Ms Heard mentioned Ms Moss in her testimony as part of the US case, Mr Depp’s attorney Ben Chew was seen giving an apparent fist pump, prompting speculation that the mention of Ms Moss could benefit Mr Depp’s legal team in some way.

Broderick Dunn, an attorney based in Virginia, told Fox5 that “since Heard brought up Depp's alleged prior bad acts, she may have opened the door to her own”, per the website.

Closing arguments are expected to take place in the Virginia trial on 27 May.

Mr Depp has sued Ms Heard for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

“The op-ed depended on the central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her,” Mr Depp’s complaint alleges in part, calling the claim of domestic abuse “categorically and demonstrably false”.

He has asked for $50m in damages.

Ms Heard has counter-sued Mr Depp, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

She has asked for $100m in damages.

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