‘Claims I hit my lover are just smears by Johnny Depp’: Amber Heard denies attack at airport

·2-min read
Amber Heard reacts in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax (AP)
Amber Heard reacts in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax (AP)

Amber Heard said reports that she was arrested for assaulting a former girlfriend in 2009 were part of a “smear campaign” by Johnny Depp, as she concluded her evidence to their libel trial.

The actress denied allegations that she had assaulted former partner Tasya van Ree in a bust-up at an airport in Seattle, suggesting the story had been “planted by Johnny’s team” after their marriage broke down and she obtained a restraining order against the star.

Heard and Depp have been at loggerheads for the last six years, after she filed for divorce and accused the actor, 58, of domestic abuse during their marriage.

Depp is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million in a libel trial, insisting he has been wrongly accused of abuse, while Heard has countersued for $100 million after Depp branded her allegations a “hoax”.

Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez raised the 2009 incident amid reports she had struck Ms van Ree on the arm and pulled her necklace off. However, no charges were brought against the actress.

“You committed domestic violence against Ms van Ree during your relationship, didn’t you?” asked Ms Vasquez.

“You assaulted her at a Seattle airport in 2009, didn’t you?” But Heard replied: “No I did not,” insisting the assault claim was “not true”.

“It was covered by the press, isn’t that true?” said the lawyer, and Heard replied: “It was planted in the press by Johnny’s team two days after I got the TRO (temporary restraining order), not coincidentally — another example of the smear campaign.”

Concluding her cross-examination, Ms Vasquez pressed: “Mr Depp is not the only partner you have assaulted, is he Ms Heard?” Heard replied: “I’ve never assaulted Mr Depp or anyone else that I was romantically linked to, ever.”

Earlier, Heard was questioned about actor James Franco’s visit to her Los Angeles penthouse in May 2016, the day after she claims her marriage finally ended, with Depp hitting her in the face with a phone.

“He was my friend and he lived quite literally next door,” she said.

“I’d exhausted my support network and I was happy to welcome as much friendship as I could possibly get.” The court has heard claims that Depp was jealous of Franco and suspected Heard of having an affair.

Heard is the subject of a petition with more than four million signatures, demanding that she is dropped from upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Depp denies ever being violent towards Heard, and she denies allegations that she was responsible for domestic abuse in their relationship.