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Why Kate Moss' testimony in support of Depp is important

Fans of Johnny Depp were overjoyed when it looked like Moss might testify. On Wednesday, she appeared via video from England in his support

Actor Johnny Depp listens as former girlfriend, Model Kate Moss testifies via video during the defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. (REUTERS)

By Team Lounge (with inputs from AFP)

LAST PUBLISHED 26.05.2022  |  03:00 PM IST

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On Wednesday, British model Kate Moss took the witness stand virtually, via video call from England, in the defamation battle between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard on Wednesday. She testified in support of Depp, whom she dated from 1994 to 1998.

On the same day, Depp testified that it has been "unimaginably brutal" to listen to his ex-wife Amber Heard's "heinous" accusations of domestic abuse. "No human being is perfect, certainly not, none of us, but I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse," the 58-year-old Depp said.

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As the six-week-long trial nears an end, Depp was asked by his lawyers what it has been like to listen to Heard's testimony. "Horrible, ridiculous, humiliating, ludicrous, painful, savage, unimaginably brutal, cruel and all false," he told the seven-person jury. "All false."

A file photo of Kate Moss, left, and actor Johnny Depp  from April 1995. (AP)

Quick background

The 36-year-old Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against her then-husband in May 2016, citing domestic violence. Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, then filed a libel suit in London against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." He lost that case in November 2020. Depp brought suit against Heard in Fairfax over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

The Texas-born Heard did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying that he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages. Heard, who had a starring role in "Aquaman," countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse."

Arguments against Depp

During the ongoing trial, which began April 11, Heard testified about multiple instances of alleged physical and sexual abuse by an intoxicated Depp, including being sexually assaulted with a bottle while they were in Australia. Depp however, claimed Heard was the one who was frequently violent during their relationship and once severed the tip of one of his middle fingers by throwing a vodka bottle at him.

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In line with this, last week actor Ellen Barkin, another of Depp's former girlfriends in her testimony described him as jealous, controlling and "drunk a lot of the time." Barkin said he once threw a wine bottle in his hotel room in Las Vegas after an argument with a friend or an assistant.

Moss' support

With all of this going on, social media observers in support of Depp were overjoyed when Heard brought up rumours of Depp's abuse of former girlfriend Moss – the reference provided an opening to Depp's lawyers to call upon the British model. This, they said, would help tipping the case in his favour.

"He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs," said Moss on Wednesday, as predicted, appearing as a rebuttal witness on behalf of Depp.

This was in reference to an incident which occurred during a vacation the couple took to a resort in Jamaica. "There'd been a rainstorm and as I left the room, I slid down the stairs and I hurt my back," Moss said. "He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention."

Actor Amber Heard in the courtroom (AP)

Damaged careers

After being sued for defamation, Heard filed a countersuit, citing allegedly defamatory remarks made about her by Depp's former attorney, Adam Waldman.

Both sides have claimed damage to their Hollywood careers.

Heard's legal team presented an entertainment industry expert who estimated that the actress has suffered $45-50 million in lost film and TV roles and endorsements.

An industry expert hired by Depp's side said the actor has lost millions because of the abuse accusations, including a $22.5 million payday for a sixth installment of "Pirates."

Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments for Friday.

Over the weeks, social media chatter has had people takes sides. It remains to be seen if Moss' support of Depp, as has been hailed, might tip the scales in his favour and resuscitate his career.

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    26.05.2022 | 03:00 PM IST