Psychologist in Depp trial testifies on Heard’s health

A forensic psychologist has testified that actor Amber Heard has borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, as the civil lawsuit between her and ex-husband Johnny Depp continues to wallow in the couple’s personal issues.

Depp is suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post referring to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The 2018 article does not mention Depp by name. But his lawyers say it contains “defamation by implication” because it clearly refers to allegations of domestic abuse made by Heard when she filed for divorce in 2016.

The psychologist, Shannon Curry, was hired by Depp’s legal team. She said she reached her diagnosis during 12 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as from reviewing her mental health records.

Dr Curry also testified that Heard did not suffer post-traumatic stress disorder from her relationship with Depp, as Heard had claimed.

Depp’s team hopes Dr Curry’s testimony bolsters their contention that Heard was the aggressor in the couple’s troubled relationship.

Depp just concluded four days on the witness stand and testified about Heard’s “need for conflict” and her tendency to hound and pursue him during arguments when he tried to walk away and disengage.

The two personality disorders were similar, Dr Curry said. Borderline personality was a disease of instability, she said “driven by an underlying fear of abandonment”. She said people with the disorder “will make desperate attempts to prevent that from happening”.

Evidence introduced earlier at the trial includes audio clips of Heard begging Depp not to leave, and to stay with her after he indicated a desire to break up or separate.

She also said that borderline personality disorder “seems to be a predictive factor for women who implement violence against their partner”.

Depp has said he is the one who was a victim of domestic violence, and that Heard hit him on multiple occasions and threw items such as paint cans and vodka bottles at him.

Histrionic personality disorder, Dr Curry said, was associated with “drama and shallowness,” and a need to be the centre of attention.

On cross-examination, Heard’s lawyers questioned Dr Curry for potential bias, noting she had dinner and drinks with Depp and his lawyers at Depp’s house before she was hired. Dr Curry said it was just part of the interview process.

And Heard’s lawyers called attention to evidence that Heard reported abuse contemporaneously to her therapist and to the couple’s marriage counsellor.

While the libel lawsuit in Virginia is supposed to centre on whether Depp was defamed in the article, most of the trial has focused on ugly details of the couple’s brief marriage.

Depp has denied ever striking Heard. Heard’s lawyers say Depp physically and sexually abused her and that Depp’s denials lack merit because he was often drunk and high to the point of blacking out.

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