An expert in intimate partner violence called to give evidence in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard has testified that her evaluation of the female actor revealed two psychiatric diagnoses – borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
Depp’s witness, Shannon Curry, said that the diagnosis came from examination of Heard’s previous psychological assessments, coupled with direct examination on two occasions, and participation in a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test, a court in Alexandria, Virginia, heard on Tuesday.
Curry said that Heard, 36, displayed a “reactive”, “overly dramatic presentation” and used words like “magical” and “wonderful” to describe events. Heard, she said, flitted between “princess and victim”.
As sophisticated, “cute and girlish” as such people may present, Curry said, they “may in reality be very destructive”, “dramatic, erratic and unpredictable” and possessed of an “underlying drive to not be abandoned but also to be center of attention”.
Curry said borderline personality disorder represented an unstable personality, alert to rejection, with little access to self-regulation and marked by “a lot of anger, cruelty toward people less powerful, concerned with image, attention seeking and prone to externalizing blame, a lot suppressed anger that may explode outwards”.
Anyone attempting an intimate relationship with such a personality, Curry said, would likely go from “idolized to dumpster”. It was typical of borderline personalities, she added, to be “assaultive as partners. They’ll make threats using the legal system, threaten to file for a restraining order, claim abuse.”
The testimony on the forensic psychological evaluation of Heard – which the defendant would have to have agreed to have aired in court – came during the ninth day of the trial in which Depp is suing his former wife for defamation after she wrote an article describing herself as a survivor of domestic abuse during their marriage. Depp, 58, claims Heard abused him.
The court has been presented with witnesses’ recollection of the couple’s disputes and investigated for their observations of the relationship dynamics that underpinned them, as each side attempts to establish for the jury the probability of their version of events.
Earlier on Tuesday, Tara Roberts, the manager of Depp’s residence on an island in the Exuma chain of the Bahamas, testified that she witnessed a dispute between the couple during which “Amber was telling him he was a washed-up actor going to die a fat, lonely old man”.
Moments later, as Depp attempted to leave, Heard was observed “hugging and kissing” the actor as his wife “begged him to return”. Roberts said Depp “stood there with his arms by his side. He didn’t do anything.” She later noticed that Depp had a “mark across the bridge of his nose”, she said.
The housekeeper disputed she had ever seen Depp “passed out drunk” but acknowledged he had once fallen out of a hammock and had been found lying beneath it. After that incident, Roberts said, she arranged for Heard and Depp’s two children, Lily Rose and Jack, to leave the island.
Throughout the trial, jurors have heard from a number of medical and mental health professionals. The case continues.