Amber Heard, Ex Tasya Van Ree 'Altercation': What Witness Revealed

Amber Heard's alleged fight with a former partner more than a decade ago was detailed in court by a witness on Wednesday as her defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp draws to its conclusion.

The actress, 36, is battling it out in a Virginia court with Depp, 58, after he sued her for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post, in which she stated that she was a domestic abuse survivor. While Heard, who is countersuing for $100 million, did not name Depp in the article, his lawyers have argued that it was obvious she was referring to the actor. During the trial, both denied the other's allegations of domestic violence.

As proceedings at Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse on Wednesday, police officer Beverly Leonard testified via live video link that she had allegedly witnessed Heard get into an altercation with her then-partner Tasya van Ree at a Washington airport.

According to Leonard, the alleged incident took place in 2009 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where she worked at the time.

Amber Heard and Tasya Van Ree
Amber Heard's (L) alleged fight with former partner Tasya Van Ree (R) more than a decade ago was detailed in court by a witness on Wednesday, as her defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp draws to its conclusion. Heard has denied the allegations. JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images;/Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Speaking with Depp's attorney, Camille Vasquez, Leonard said: "I was in the baggage claim area and I observed her with a traveling companion. They got into an altercation where Ms. Heard had grabbed her traveling companion and pulled something from her neck. At that point, I got up and went over to try to break up what appeared to be a fight.

"I summoned a colleague to help me, and I stepped in between them and separated them, stopping any further injuries or escalation," she said.

When asked about Heard and Van Ree's interaction with one another at the time, Leonard said: "Ms. Heard was aggressive toward her traveling companion. She had reached up and grabbed her arm and pulled a necklace off of her. And then I observed her having it in her hand. She seemed to be not very steady on her feet, her eyes were blurry and watery, and I could smell alcohol."

Of Van Ree, Leonard went on: "She raised her hands in what appeared to be a defensive manner. But other than that, she was pretty stoic and didn't really respond much. Her stature was two or three inches taller than Ms. Heard, so she didn't really need to have to defend herself."

Vasquez then asked Leonard about Heard's demeanor at the time.

"She was somewhat dismissive," Leonard responded. "She just said, 'We're just having an argument, we're fine, we're fine.' Because I was asking if they were OK. 'Are you OK? Is there anything wrong? What's going on?'"

Leonard also alleged that she observed injuries on Van Ree at the time, saying: "She had an abrasion on the side of her neck where the necklace was, like a rope burn, from the chain as it was removed."

Last week, Heard accused Depp's team of planting the allegation in the media that she had been physically abusive toward Van Ree, a photographer and artist who was in a relationship with the Aquaman star for roughly five years.

"You committed domestic violence against Miss Van Ree during your relationship, didn't you?" Vasquez questioned, which Heard denied while on the stand.

"You assaulted her at a Seattle airport in 2009, didn't you?" Vasquez continued. "And people saw that."

"That's not true," Heard responded.

"And it was covered in the press. Isn't that true?" Depp's attorney said.

"It was planted in the press by Johnny's team, two days after I got the TRO [temporary restraining order]," Heard testified.

Amber Heard and Tasya Van Ree
Amber Heard and Tasya Van Ree were in a relationship for around five years. They are pictured together above at Van Ree's private viewing of "Distorted Delicacies" at Vs. Magazine & Creative Studios Paris' Space on June 22, 2011, in New York City. Ben Gabbe/WireImage

Heard filed for a restraining order against Depp a few days after filing for divorce in 2016. Their divorce was finalized in January 2017.

"Mr. Depp is not the only domestic partner you've assaulted, is he, Ms. Heard?" Vasquez questioned, which Heard denied.

Heard and Van Ree argued at the airport in 2009 before Heard was arrested after she allegedly hit her then-partner in the arm, USA Today reported in 2016.

However, Van Ree issued a statement claiming that the incident was "misinterpreted" and that Heard was "wrongfully" accused.

"I [recall] hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which later appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just 'friends,'" Van Ree said in the statement. "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 5 wonderful years together and remain close to this day," Van Ree's statement continued.

After being arrested in 2009 by Port of Seattle Police, Heard stated that the charges were dropped "because they knew the exact same thing that I just told you, that no domestic violence ever occurred and my ex has stated such."

In Heard's 2016 deposition, which went viral during the current trial, she said, "In fact, it was so ridiculous those charges, it was a verbal argument, it was misinterpreted [and] misrepresented. There was no physical violence, no physical abuse and zero domestic violence whatsoever between us."

The Depp v. Heard trial continues Thursday, and Newsweek will be covering all the breaking stories from the Fairfax County courtroom on our live blog.

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