Heard 'Suffered PTSD' From Depp's 'Sexual, Physical Violence', Witness Testifies in Libel Case
10:52 GMT 04.05.2022 (Updated: 11:31 GMT 04.05.2022)
Actor Johnny Depp’s lawyers ended their case on 3 May after 13 days of testimony in his multi-million-dollar defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, with the legal team representing the 'Aquaman' actress now starting to present their side.
After Johnny Depp’s legal team finished their presentation in his multi-million-dollar defamation trial against Amber Heard, his ex-wife was graphically portrayed as the victim of physical and sexual abuse at his hands by her lawyers.
Dr Dawn Hughes was the first witness to appear in the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom for Heard's team.
The expert psychologist told jurors that after 29 hours of evaluating the 36-year-old actress, she had concluded that Depp’s former spouse suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The condition, stated Hughes, had been caused by the physical and sexual abuse Heard had been subjected to by Johnny Depp, 58.
The testimony became quite graphic at times, with Heard appearing to be visibly distraught.
© Photo : Amber Heard/High CourtAmber Heard has been accused of fabricating her injuries
Amber Heard has been accused of fabricating her injuries
© Photo : Amber Heard/High Court
The psychologist’s words appeared to contradict earlier statements made by a colleague hired by Depp's lawyers. Thus, the jurors earlier heard that the actress had "grossly exaggerated" symptoms of PTSD and actually suffered from "histrionic and borderline personality disorders".
Dr Hughes also told the court that Amber Heard had described several instances of sexual abuse she had been forced to endure. One of these referred to the infamous fight in Australia in 2015. At the time, Depp and Heard reportedly quarrelled, with the actor ostensibly ripping off Heard’s nightgown. After that he was said to have “hurled bottles and bottles at her" according to the woman’s lawyers. The actress claimed her then-husband penetrated her with a bottle.
Amber Heard had described "going outside of her body and the only thing she was thinking is, 'oh God, I hope it's not the broken one'," Dr Hughes told jurors.
According to the psychologist’s testimony, several instances of abuse against Heard could be corroborated by apologies and admissions reportedly made by Depp to Heard, as well as admissions the actor supposedly made to friends in text messages.
Dr Hughes weighed in on Depp’s claims that he was the one subjected to violence during his relationship with Heard.
In her testimony, the witness claimed the actress had admitted to pushing Depp on occasion and calling him names. However, according to the witness for Heard’s side, Depp's violence, mostly triggered by his "obsessive jealousy", threatened the woman’s safety. The psychologist recounted instances when, according to Heard, her ex-husband told her to avoid nude scenes, accused her of having affairs with co-stars such as Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco.
© AP Photo / Vianney Le CaerActress Amber Heard poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018
Actress Amber Heard poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Aquaman', in London, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018
© AP Photo / Vianney Le Caer
Johnny Depp was also accused of calling Amber Heard’s co-stars or directors to tell them he "had eyes" on set.
After cross-examination of Dr Hughes by Depp's team, Amber Heard is expected to take the stand.
The psychologist’s expert testimony on Tuesday came after Johnny Depp's lawyers finished their case. Before Amber Heard’s legal team took over, they made a last-ditch attempt to argue for the trial to be dismissed entirely. The lawyers representing the actress who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017 claimed that the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star had failed to make his case as a matter of law and that "no reasonable jury could find in his favour", according to AP.
However, Judge Penney Azcarate moved forward with the hearing.
© AFP 2023 / EVELYN HOCKSTEINActor Johnny Depp attends his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 13, 2022
Actor Johnny Depp attends his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 13, 2022
© AFP 2023 / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife for libel over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in December 2018 where she portrayed herself as the victim of domestic abuse, even though it didn't mention his name.
Depp has insisted the abuse allegations were an elaborate "hoax". He also accused Heard of committing acts of domestic violence against him, in some instances even causing him bodily injury.