A clinical psychologist tested that Johnny Depp once performed a “cavity search” on Amber Heard during their marriage.
dr Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist, was the first witness brought by Heard’s legal team as they began their defense Tuesday in Fairfax, Virginia in Depp’s ongoing defamation trial against Heard’s ex-wife. Hughes gave an opposite professional analysis than the forensic psychologist brought to the stand by Depp’s team last week, who said Heard had no signs of PTSD. Instead, Hughes said the actress does have post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by what she called the “intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp.”
Hughes looked at Heard’s medical records, past depositions and met with the actress four times in person and twice via zoom, totaling about 29 hours. She also interviewed some of Heard’s treating physicians and the star’s late mom Paige.
While testing, Hughes described several of Heard’s sexual assault allegations against Depp. Hughes said Heard claimed that he digitally penetrated her more than once and that he, at one time, penetrated her with a liquor bottle. Heard told Hughes that Depp would have alcohol-fueled “rage” that often led to these acts, according to Hughes’ testimony.
“There are indications, as I’ve mentioned before, of the sexual assault and the sexual abuse, and how he would, when he was angry and when he was drunk — it was mostly drug- and alcohol-fueled rage when he would throw her on the bed and try to have sex with her,” said Hughes. “Then, you know, if he was not able to perform, he would get more angry at her and blame her. We have this dynamic of blaming her for his inability to take responsibility for his behavior.”
Heard’s therapists were concerned for her safety, said Hughes, and the actress sometimes “fought back.” She also testified that Heard engaged in psychological aggression and that “she was very ashamed and remorseful about that,” as well as some reactive violence.
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Hughes said, based on Heard’s therapists’ notes, “There were times when [Depp] forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry. These weren’t in loving moments; they were angry moments, moments of dominance, moments of him trying to get control over her.”
One time, after Depp accused Heard of flirting with someone while on an outing in Hicksville, New York, “Mr. Depp performed a ‘cavity search’ and ostensibly was looking for drugs and felt it acceptable to rip off her nightgown and stick his fingers up her vagina to look for cocaine and thought maybe she was hiding it there,” said Hughes.
“There was another incident in the Bahamas where, when he got angry, he took his fingers and he put them in her vagina and moved her around violently in the closet,” she continued, adding, “And, of course, the incident in Australia — one of the most severe instances of sexual violence that Ms. Heard had to endure — when he was beating her and choking her and telling her, ‘I’m going to f—–g kill you. I hate you .’ … He grabbed a bottle that was on the bar and penetrated her with that bottle.”
Hughes said, “Ms. Heard reported to me of dissociating and going outside of her body. The only thing she was thinking is, ‘Oh God, I hope it’s not the broken one.”
Heard, 36, appeared emotional as she listened to Hughes’ testimony from her seat in the courtroom, where Depp, 58, was also present. the Aquaman actress has not yet taken the stand, though she is expected to go under oath sometime this week.
When her attorney Ben Rottenborn, in his opening statements, brought up Heard’s allegations of sexual assault along with other forms of domestic abuse she experienced, a spokesperson for Depp denied the allegation, calling it “fictitious” and “for the purpose of Hollywood shock value of which Amber has mastered and used to exploit a serious social movement.”
Rottenborn said that Heard “did suffer sexual violence at the hands of Depp. … You will hear in the most graphic and horrifying terms about the violence that she suffered. You’ll hear that straight from her. She will get on the stand and she will tell you that. It happened.”
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post about surviving domestic violence, though she never mentioned Depp by name in the article. the Pirates of the Caribbean actor originally filed the $50 million lawsuit in March 2019.
Depp, who has said multiple times under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman, has tested that his “goal is the truth” as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard said in a statement that “hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world.”
Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized UK libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” The court upheld the outlet’s claims as being “substantially true” and Heard tested to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.