Kate Moss testifies in the Depp-Heard trial. Here’s how she’s connected to Depp

Kate Moss poses for photographers at a Burberry fashion event in March.
(Vianney Le Caer / Invision/Associated Press)

Kate Moss is the latest celebrity to be drawn into the protracted defamation trial between actors and exes Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Moss appeared in a Virginia courtroom on Wednesday to testify in support of Depp via video live from England.

The British model dated Depp in the 1990s and fueled countless headlines with him about their “volatile romance.” She was among the people Depp’s attorneys listed as rebuttal witnesses in the trial on Monday.

The reason: When Heard testified about an incident involving her sister Whitney Henriquez earlier this month, she alluded to a rumored incident in which the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star allegedly shoved Moss down a staircase while they were dating.

“I don’t hesitate. I just instantly think of Kate Moss and the stairs, and I swung at him. In all my relationships to date, I hadn’t [delivered] a blow. For the first time, I hit him square in the face,” the “Aquaman” actor testified, describing an altercation that resulted in Heard hitting Depp. (Henriquez is Heard’s only eyewitness to Depp’s alleged violence.)


Model Kate Moss, Depp’s girlfriend in the ’90s, set the record straight with testimony about what happened on those stairs in Jamaica. Depp agreed.

When Heard, who is countersuing her ex-husband for $100 million, name-checked Moss in court, Depp and his attorney, Ben Chew, shared a celebratory fist-bump. Claiming that she ruined his reputation and career, Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for allegedly libeling him in a 2018 op-ed she wrote that was published in the Washington Post.

In testimony on Wednesday, the 48-year-old Moss shut down the old rumor about her ex, which apparently originated from a vacation the former couple took in Jamaica.

“He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs,” Moss said of Depp while appearing via video from Gloucestershire, England. “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 slid down the stairs and I hurt my back.

“And I screamed, ’cause I didn’t know what happened to me and I was in pain. He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention.”

An objection shut down Moss’ answer as to why she chose to testify in this case, and there was no cross-examination.

If Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for defamation just to prove that there are people who still think he’s a big movie star, he’s won. But at what price?

Heard referred to the staircase rumor during her prior lawsuit against the British tabloid the Sun, which she later won. In that case, she testified that she “heard the rumor he pushed an ex-girlfriend down the stairs” and said she thought the girlfriend was Moss.

Moss, one of Depp’s many famous girlfriends, reined supreme on the fashion scene in the ‘90s with her grungy and nonchalant “heroin chic” style. The petite, 5-foot-7 model posed on the cover of nearly every major fashion magazine and dominated runways on the tail end of the supermodel era. (More recently her 19-year-old daughter, Lila Moss, has fronted a number of campaigns herself.)

The fashion icon has been a muse for photographer Mario Testino and designers including Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, as well as the late Alexander McQueen and Christopher Bailey during their stints at Burberry. Not to mention that she was a wardrobe influencer before the term “influencer” entered the pop-culture vernacular.

As the story goes, Depp and Moss were introduced in 1994 by celebrity journalist George Wayne at New York’s hip Café Tabac. He was 31 and she was 20 at the time.

The possibility of facing the financial and psychological costs of a defamation lawsuit can result in some survivors choosing to remain silent.

“I did introduce Kate Moss to Johnny Depp at Café Tabac, and she will acknowledge that,” Wayne told the Face in 2019. “So, Kate walks in with Naomi [Campbell]. They walked into this one [part of] the room and Johnny Depp was sitting at the back of the restaurant having dinner with a few friends. I grabbed Kate’s hand and I said, ‘Come. I’m taking you right now. I want you to meet Johnny.’ I just grabbed her hand and took her back there. I said, ‘Kate, this is Johnny. Johnny, this is Kate.’ And that was the end of it. I didn’t think they would go on to destroy five-star hotel rooms across the globe for the next two years. But that’s what happened. I just wanted to, you know, cause a little drama. I said, why not?”

The two became the year’s “It” couple and jet-setted around the world, plagued by paparazzi and reports about heated arguments they allegedly had.

As for the infamous hotel room incident: The “Edward Scissorhands” star was arrested for criminal mischief on Sept. 13, 1994, at New York’s Mark Hotel for allegedly trashing his digs — a $1,200-a-night room he shared with Moss at the time. Police found the actor “in a state of possible intoxication,” and Moss, who was not charged, was uninjured.

Johnny Depp’s rebuttal witnesses Tuesday chipped away at Amber Heard’s allegations and claims of damages.

A judge later dismissed the case against the actor if he agreed to stay out of trouble for six months. Depp also paid the hotel nearly $10,000, including more than $2,000 for damages, as well as the bill for the remainder of his stay.

When Depp and Moss broke up in 1997, Depp said he was to blame.

“I have never got that emotional over a woman before,” he told Hello! magazine in 1998. “I have been so stupid because we had so much going for our relationship.”

Johnny Depp was set to take the stand Monday as a witness for Amber Heard, but her team pivoted. Kate Moss is listed as a rebuttal witness for her ex.

“I’m the one who has to take responsibility for what happened — I was difficult to get on with, I let my work get in the way and I didn’t give her the attention I should have done,” he said. “The whole thing was crazy because I should never have got so worked up over what people had to say about my work. Sure, I should care about my movies, but when I get home, I should try to leave that stuff behind. I couldn’t do that, and I was horrific to live with. Trust me, I’m a total moron sometimes.”

Moss told Vanity Fair in 2012 that she spent “years and years of crying” over Depp following their split.

Since their whirlwind romance, the two have mounted successful careers in their respective fields — although Depp’s has been hanging by a thread after Heard accused him of abuse.

Model Kate Moss disputes heroin, anorexia rumors

In 2007, Moss collaborated with Britain’s cheap-chic fashion chain Top Shop and paid homage to the red skinny jeans she wore while walking out of the hotel room she and Depp trashed. In 2016, the notoriously private star established the Kate Moss Agency — a talent agency based in London that provides personal management to its clients — and has continued modeling, walking in runway shows for Louis Vuitton in 2018 and Fendi in 2021.

In 2013, Moss told Allure magazine that she triumphed over scandal after scandal with a mantra she adopted from Depp: “Never complain, never explain.”

Times staff writer Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.