Kate Moss, Johnny Depp Staircase Rumor Origin: What We Know

As supermodel Kate Moss prepares to testify as a rebuttal witness in the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial, many have wondered where the rumor that Depp allegedly pushed Moss down a flight of stairs actually came from.

In the trial against Heard, whom Depp sued for $50 million after she wrote an op-ed with The Washington Post alleging, without naming Depp, that she was a victim of domestic violence, Heard briefly mentioned Moss in her testimony.

While recalling an incident on the witness stand on May 5, Heard brought up Moss' name. She testified that in an argument in which Depp tried to hit Heard's sister, "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."

Depp's legal team celebrated the mention of the model's name and some legal experts predicted that Heard's pull for Moss would backfire, as Depp's team later came to call Moss as a witness to deny the rumor that Depp once pushed Moss down a flight of stairs.

Some legal experts predicted that Amber Heard's citing a rumor that Johnny Depp pushed Kate Moss down a flight of stairs would backfire on the actress. Above, Heard attends the trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 24. JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Staircase Rumor: What We Know

While not confirmed, it is difficult to find any reports prior to 2020 of a rumor that Depp pushed Moss down the stairs while they were dating in the 1990s.

The rumor allegedly first made headlines after Heard talked about it in 2020 when she mentioned Moss during Depp's 2020 libel trial against The Sun newspaper, which he sued after it ran a report calling him a "wife-beater."

According to the Associated Press, Heard said in the 2020 trial, "He was about to push her [Heard's sister] 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."

In 2020, Depp's former lawyer, David Sherborne, accused Heard of making the rumor up. Sherborne alleged that "in yet another moment of unscripted malevolence," Heard "tossed in a detail" to say she had "remembered a rumor" that Depp had pushed Moss down the stairs, according to The Mirror, a U.K. tabloid.

Eleanor Laws, who also represented Depp, told the court that it was the first time Heard mentioned Moss regarding the incident. She reportedly asked Heard why the actress had never brought up Moss before, and Heard replied, "I've not had the liberty of time or space or energy even to list every thought that crossed my mind."

Kate Moss And Johnny Deep At 1995
Kate Moss and Johnny Depp were considered an "it" couple when they dated from 1994 to 1997. In this photo, American actor Johnny Depp with his girlfriend, British model Kate Moss, at the 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California, January 21, 1995. Fotos International/Getty Images

Depp and Moss were considered an "it" couple when they dated from 1994 to 1997. Depp was 31 when he began dating Moss, who was 20.

In 1994, there were reports that a hotel room in New York's Mark Hotel was trashed by the couple amid an argument. Depp was arrested over this incident for criminal mischief, but the charge was dismissed by a criminal court judge on the condition that he kept out of trouble for six months.

There were no reports that Moss was ever injured, and the supermodel never accused Depp of being violent toward her.

Stay up to date with Newsweek's live blog of the trial.