Psychologist Says Depp Sexually Assaulted Heard

Depp's team has rested its case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 3, 2022 5:07 PM CDT
Psychologist Says Depp Assaults Left Heard With PTSD
Johnny Depp looks on in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday May 3, 2022.   (Jim Watson/Pool photo via AP)

(Newser) – Amber Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband Johnny Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault, a psychologist testified Tuesday. The sexual assaults included being forced to perform oral sex and having Depp penetrate her with a liquor bottle, the psychologist, Dawn Hughes, told jurors at Depp's libel trial against Heard. He accuses her of falsely claiming in a newspaper op-ed piece that she was a victim of domestic violence. Hughes' testimony contradicts that of a psychologist hired by Depp's lawyers, who said Heard was faking her PTSD symptoms and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders.

Hughes disputed that Heard suffers from any personality disorder. She was the first witness to take the stand on Heard's behalf after Depp's lawyers rested their case Tuesday morning, the AP reports. Hughes said there is corroboration of many of the instances of abuse, including apologies and admissions made by Depp to Heard and admissions he made to friends in text messages about his bad behavior when he drinks. In some cases, Heard told her therapists about the abuse contemporaneously, Hughes said. Depp has said he never physically attacked Heard, and that she was the aggressor who routinely hit him and threw things at him through the course of their relationship.

Hughes, in her testimony, said Heard acknowledged that she did at times push and shove Depp, call him names, and insult his parenting. But Hughes said there's a difference in the violence when a smaller person strikes at a larger person, and that Depp's violence was intimidating and threatened her safety, but Heard's violence did not have the same effect on Depp. "That's just physics; that's just proportional force," she said. Much of the violence, Hughes said, stemmed from Depp's obsessive jealousy. He insisted she avoid nude scenes, if she worked at all, and accused her of affairs with actors Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco, Hughes said.

And Heard, who identifies as bisexual according to treatment notes introduced at trial, also faced scrutiny in her interactions with women. Hughes said Depp on one occasion manually penetrated Heard in anger after witnessing Heard's interactions with a woman. Heard blinked back tears, and her lips and chin quivered at times as Hughes described the abuse. Hughes said she based her testimony on 29 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as interviews with her therapists and a review of court documents. Hughes will be cross-examined Wednesday, and Heard is expected to take the stand Wednesday as well.

(Read more Johnny Depp stories.)

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