The couple is facing each other at the Fairfax County Circuit Court. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor is suing his ex-wife for $50 million over a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post where she claims that she is a domestic violence survivor. Although she did not mention Depp by name, he claims that he has lost movie roles due to the “clear implication” that he was the “Aquaman” actress’ abuser. Heard is countersuing for $100 million dollars.
Earlier this morning, Depp wrapped his case and Heard’s team filed to dismiss Depp’s lawsuit. The motion was denied, and, after a lunch break, Heard’s defense team called their first witness.
Amber Heard’s Legal Team Calls Up Forensic Psychologist As First Witness
The first witness for Heard’s team was Dr. Dawn Hughes, a forensic psychologist, and expert on “interpersonal violence abuse.” Hughes testified as an expert witness in the trials of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere and singer R. Kelly. She said that Depp’s alleged abuse of Heard is consistent with “intimate partner violence.”
Hughes testified that most women do not go forward with restraining orders and said that women stay in abusive relationships “for the loving man.” She explained that leaving a relationship is often the most dangerous time in a relationship and explained that a “trauma bond” can create a “psychological attachment” to an abusive partner.
She mentioned that factors of legality are drug abuse, alcohol abuse, destroying furniture and property, and sending threatening messages. All of these were brought up in the first half of the trial, to which Depp had testified.
After meeting with Heard both in person in New York City and over Zoom, Hughes said that her main opinion is that Ms. Heard experienced coercive control, surveillance behaviors, physical abuse, and other forms of abuse during her relationship with Mr. Depp. She also said that Ms. Heard experienced “psychological” and “traumatic” effects from the relationship. She had diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD.
Psychologist Says That Amber Heard Tried To ‘Rid Him Of His Substance Abuse Problems’
Hughes also conducted tests on malingering and feigning. She said that Heard was within the normal limits on all of the tests that were conducted and concluded that, in her professional opinion, Heard was not lying when she spoke to the allegations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
Hughes claimed that Heard’s father was “explosive” and had “violent outbursts” and told the jury that Heard was physically abused by her father and watched her father abuse her mother. Hughes also told the jury that both of Heard’s parents suffered from substance abuse.
Hughes said that Heard grew up learning that “People that hurt her also can love her” and claimed that Heard “truly, truly believed that she could fix Mr. Depp and rid him of his substance abuse problems. But that did not work.”
Amber Heard Gave Psychologist Graphic Details Of Sexual Abuse
Hughes said that Heard told her that Depp had “pushed Heard, he shoved her, he slapped her with the front of his hand and the back of his hand, he choked her, he slammed her into the wall, he pushed her, and when she fell down he kicked her in the back.” Hughes told the jury that Heard reported “vaginal pain from some of the sexual assaults.” Hughes recalled Heard telling her that she lost consciousness two times, once in Australia and once on December 15, 2015.
In one instance, Hughes recalled how Depp started talking about James Franco and said, “Hope you had fun with your escapades.” Hughes then said that Depp had “kicked her on the back and she went forward.”
In terms of “coercive control,” Hughes said that Depp tried to control her career by not showing nudity or “boob” on-screen. Hughes said that Depp criticized Heard’s ambition, didn’t want her to work with certain actors, and told the jury that Heard was allegedly “fearful” to talk about scripts because Depp “persistently put those down and told her she didn’t need to work.”
Hughes told the jury that Heard claimed that Depp monitored the way that she dressed and would make her change if she was dressing too “sexy” when going out.
Hughes said that Heard also alleged that she was a victim of sexual assault. Hughes said that Heard told her that when Depp was drunk or high, he would throw her on the bed and attempt to have sex with her. Heard also claimed that he forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry in “moments of dominance.”
Hughes also described in graphic detail how Depp performed a “cavity search” of Heard’s private areas with his fingers. Hughes added that Heard “disassociated” during a separate incident where Depp allegedly penetrated her with a bottle.
In terms of psychological abuse, Hughes also said that Depp called Heard “a lot of names and humiliated her.” “Banging, throwing, and hitting things” in the house also was a form of psychological abuse, Hughes testified, and alluded to the video where Depp can be seen hitting furniture and shouting.
Hughes said that “early on,” Heard had been diagnosed with “panic disorder” and “post-traumatic stress disorder” and told the jury that a previous doctor that Heard had seen did not diagnose Heard with bipolar disorder or histrionic personality disorder. Her testimony stands in stark contrast to Dr. Shannon Curry, who was an expert called by Depp’s lawyers who had diagnosed Heard with those previous two disorders.
Hughes also testified that although Heard lost a significant amount of weight, she was not diagnosed with an eating disorder.
Deadline transcribed the graphic details of the court testimony where Heard was repeatedly “subjected to sexual violence” from Mr. Depp. “There are a number of incidents of sexual violence reported in this relationship,” Hughes testified. “Those are documented early on … where when Mr. Depp was drunk or high. He threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown, and tried to have sex with her.” Hughes said that when Depp was “not able to perform,” he would become “enraged.”
“There were times when he forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry — these weren’t loving moments, these were angry moments,” she told the jury. “Moments of dominance, moments of him trying to get control over her.”
In her testimony, Hughes recalled a time when Depp was filming the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. Hughes testified that Depp yelled “I will kill you” at Heard before he penetrated her with a bottle. When Heard recounted the alleged assault to Hughes, she had told her that all she could think was that she hoped the bottle Depp penetrated her with “wasn’t the broken one.”