Amber Heard’s ex-girlfriend, photographer Tasya Van Ree, has spoken out against claims that the actress assaulted her in a Seattle airport six years ago.
“In 2009, Amber was wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalized by two individuals in a power position,” Van Ree said in a statement. “I recount hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which later appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just ‘friends.’ Charges were quickly dropped and she was released moments later.”
“It's disheartening that Amber's integrity and story are being questioned yet again,” Van Ree continued. “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.”
Reports of an altercation between the two women resurfaced last week during Heard’s ongoing divorce from actor Johnny Depp.
The bisexual actress, who starred in Magic Mike XXL, alleges that the 52-year-old abused her throughout the course of their four-year relationship. The couple were wed last February, but in May, Heard was granted a restraining order from Depp; she claimed he “smashed his iPhone on her face,” as TMZ reports. Heard appeared in court with a bruised cheek.
The tabloid, however, has questioned Heard and Van Ree’s characterization of the 2009 incident. TMZ claims that the officer who arrested Heard at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Beverly Leonard, is a lesbian and donates to domestic violence shelters.
Van Ree, though, is just the latest person to stand by Heard. The actress’ friend, iO Tillett Wright, wrote an essay for Refinery29 alleging repeated violent, physical abuse throughout the couple’s marriage. “We all loved him,” said Tillett, who co-hosts MTV Suspect, “but especially, especially her, and she wanted to believe that the behavior wasn’t going to last.”
“She described an all-out assault and she woke up with her pillow covered in blood,” Tillett wrote. “I know this because I went to their house. I saw the pillow with my own eyes. I saw the busted lip and the clumps of hair on the floor.”
Many of those in Depp’s circle, including ex-wife Vanessa Paradis and his daughter, Lily Rose Depp, have defended him against abuse claims. Comedian Doug Stanhope wrote his own account of the couple’s marriage for The Wrap, claiming that Depp is “being blackmailed” by his estranged wife, who he characterized as being manipulative.
“We’d watched it build like this since before they were married,” he wrote. “We’d watched her manipulate and f--- with him for years. We didn’t say a word. To each other, yes, but never to him.”
Depp’s legal team has taken the same approach, calling Heard’s claims an attempt to “secure premature financial resolution.”
The actor himself has yet to speak out against the abuse allegations. In a statement, his legal team stated that he would not comment on the issue. “Given the brevity of this marriage and the most recent and tragic loss of his mother, Johnny will not respond to any of the salacious false stories, gossip, misinformation and lies about his personal life,” they said.
Heard’s lawyers dismissed the claim, most recently alleged by actor Benicio Del Toro, that the actress coming forward has anything to do with money.
“Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny’s relentless army of lawyers and surrogate,” her team said in a statement. “Amber is the victim. Amber is a hero.”