Psychologist Says Amber Heard Suffers From PTSD Due to Johnny Depp’s Abuse


A psychologist told jurors on Tuesday that Amber Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

Dawn Hughes said she diagnosed Heard after 29 hours of examining Heard and reviewing her therapy records and concluded that Depp was “highly violent.” Hughes described multiple cases of alleged sexual violence, which he says were motivated by Depp’s “obsessive jealousy” and desire to show dominance.

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Hughes was the first witness called by Heard’s lawyers as he began their defense in a $50 million defamation lawsuit in Fairfax, Va. Whenever Depp got into a fight, he would back off.

“When Mr. Depp got drunk or got drunk, he threw her to bed, tore off his nightgown, and tried to have sex with him,” Hughes said.

Hughes also cited the incidents where Depp allegedly penetrated Heard with his fingers and once with a bottle. He said Depp showed particular jealousy towards James Franco, whom Heard believed to be having an affair with.

“These incidents often occurred in a drug-induced rage,” he said.

Heard is expected to make a more comprehensive statement on the alleged harassment as he takes the stand on Wednesday.

Hughes was called last week to refute the testimony of psychologist Shannon Curry, who was summoned by Depp’s team and told the jury that Heard suffered from borderline personality disorder. Curry studied Heard for Depp for 12 hours and said that Heard was prone to making “overly dramatic” statements and was “full of anger”.

Hughes said he disagreed with Curry’s diagnosis. On her examination, she said that Heard’s symptoms were consistent with that of the victim of intimate partner violence. Hughes also stated that Heard suffered from parental abuse as a child and carries some of these dynamics in his relationship with Depp.

“He believed he could fix him, just as he tried to fix his father,” Hughes said. “He really believed he could fix Mr. Depp and get him out of his substance abuse problems, but that didn’t work.”

Hughes also said Depp exerted “forceful control” over Heard and focused on controlling his career.

“‘Ambition’ was a weaponized term in this relationship,” Hughes said.

Curry also testified that Heard suffers from histrionic personality disorder, which Heard says is marked by “drama and shallowness” and “extreme discomfort from being unable to be the center of attention”. Curry also noted that Heard does not suffer from PTSD.

Depp’s side presented testimony from couples therapist Laurel Anderson, who said they had been “mutual abuse.” Hughes argued that while both parties can engage in verbal or physical abuse, it’s also important to look at the balance of power in the relationship.

“What the research makes very clear is that you need to examine the context,” Hughes said. “To make a full decision, you must examine the difference between power and control – and coercive control – in a relationship.

In a pre-trial motion, Heard’s lawyers requested an independent mental examination of Depp. Depp’s lawyers opposed this request, arguing that Depp’s mental state was not in question. The judge denied the request.

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