Tasya Van Ree: who is Amber Heard’s ex, were they married and what was said about her in Johnny Depp trial?

Amber Heard has been asked about an alleged domestic violence incident which involved her ex-partner

Actress Amber Heard has been asked about an alleged arrest for domestic assault while she continued to give her testimony in the defamation lawsuit against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez questioned Heard about her 2009 arrest over an alleged domestic violence incident involving her then-partner Tasya van Ree when she took to the stand for a fourth day during the trial.

The case has been on-going since April but is now in its final week.

So, who is Tasya Van Ree and what has been said about the alleged incident in court?

Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Tasya Van Ree?

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Tasya Van Ree is an American painter and photographer.

She is best known for her black-and-white photographs of celebrities, including Michelle Rodriguez, Katherine Moennig and Matt Dallas.

In addition to photography and painting, van Ree makes short films and works in other visual media, including pencil drawings.

She often wears hats during interviews and is noted for her views on fashion and identity.

In a spoken-word interview video for the "Be You" Project with Genetic Denim she said: “I think you become what you wear, and your personality kind of aligns with what you look like from the outside."

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Were Tasya Van Ree and Amber Heard married?

Heard, 36, and Van Ree, 46, were in a relationship between 2008 and 2012.

They were not married however, according to America entertainment website Radar Online, Heard changed her surname to Van Ree during their romance.

Heard supposedly changed her surname back in 2014.

Amber Heard and Tasya Van Ree.

What happened during the alleged domestic violence incident?

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In 2009, Heard was arrested in Washington state for misdemeanour domestic violence, after allegedly grabbing van Ree and hitting her arm, but she was never charged.

The arrest was made public during Heard’s divorce proceedings from actor Johnny Depp in 2016.

At the time, American newspaper USA Today said the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington had confirmed that Heard was arrested by Port of Seattle Police on September 14 2009 after the incident.

Van Ree issued a statement in 2016 and said that Heard had been “wrongfully" accused and that the incident had been "misinterpreted and over-sensationalized".

She added that she remained close to her former partner.

"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.”

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What was said in court?

Depp’s lawyer Vasquez asked Heard about the incident during cross examination of her testimony on Tuesday 17 May.

Heard denied committing domestic violence against Van Ree or assaulting her. She claimed the story was “planted” after she obtained a temporary restraining order against Depp in 2016.

Some legal experts believe that Vasquez has been allowed to ask Heard about the incident because she spoke about Kate Moss earlier in the trial.

On May 5, she told the court about an incident which had occurred and involved herself, Depp and her sister.

She said it reminded her of an incident during which she alleges Depp pushed his then girlfriend, model Kate Moss, down the stairs when they were dating in the 90s.

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This was the second time Heard had referenced the alleged incident.

During Depp’s 2020 libel trial against the Sun, Heard also made the claim that Depp had pushed Moss down a flight of stairs.

Moss has not responded to Heard’s claims - not when it was first brought up in 2020, nor when Heard referred to it earlier this month.

Attorney Broderick Dunn told American television channel Fox5 that “since Heard brought up Depp’s alleged prior bad acts, she may have opened the door to her own”.

What is the defamation case about?

Depp launched the defamation case against Heard in 2019, after she wrote an opinion piece published in the Washington Post in December of 2018 in which she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse and thereby implicating him as an abuser.

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Depp’s lawyers claim that the article falsely implies that Heard was physically and sexually abused whilst she was married to him.

The article doesn’t mention Depp by name, but he claims it has cost him acting roles and is suing Heard for $50m (£40m).

She has counter-sued him for $100m (£80m), claiming Depp defamed her when his legal team referred to her claims as “fake” and a “sexual violence hoax”.

The former couple have both accused each other of being physically violent during their relationship, and they each deny the other’s claims.

Depp and Heard met while they were filming the 2011 film The Rum Diary, in which they played lovers, and the two married in LA in February 2015.

In May 2016 Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp after accusing him of abuse, which he denied. Their divorce was finalised in 2017.