Psychologist says Heard suffered from PTSD because of Depp
Amber Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of Johnny Depp’s physical and emotional abuse, a psychologist testified on Tuesday in the ongoing defamation trial in Fairfax, Va.
Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist in New York City, testified that she met with Heard for a total of 29 hours between September 2019 and December 2021.
Hughes said her client suffered from a “moderate degree” of PTSD.
“The cause was the intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp,” Hughes testified under questioning by Heard’s lawyers. “That was what was pushing the symptoms, that was related to the intrusive phenomena, that was related to her avoidance, that was related to differences in her mood.”
Heard’s legal team took the stand Tuesday after Depp’s attorneys rested their case, following about three weeks of testimony and evidence during which they alleged Heard was the abuser and not Depp.
His team played audio of Heard admitting to hitting Depp, and Depp testified that he lost a fingertip during a fight with Heard. His legal team called forth Los Angeles police officers who testified that Heard had no visible injuries when they responded to a domestic abuse call.
But on Tuesday, Hughes testified about a number of allegations that Heard reported to her during what Hughes described as a “highly volatile, highly damaging relationship that was punctuated by coercive control” because of Depp’s drug abuse and anger.
Depp tried to control her life both emotionally and practically, including what type of movie roles the actress could take and where she could travel, according to Hughes. The clinical psychologist also said that Heard reported that Depp pushed, choked, slapped and sexually assaulted her.
“She reported mostly bruising pain, some cuts. She reported vaginal pain from some of the sexual assaults,” Hughes alleged. “She reported that she believed she may have lost consciousness one or two times.”
Heard met Depp in 2009 while on the set of the film “The Rum Diaries,” and the couple eventually started dating before they married in 2015. The couple finalized a divorce by 2017.
Depp sued The Sun in the United Kingdom in 2020 for publishing a story alleging he had abused Heard but lost the case.
In Virginia, Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in defamation claims over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote a former partner had abused her.
The article did not mention Depp by name, but the actor alleges he has not been cast in a major movie role since. Heard has countersued Depp for $100 million.