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Analyst: Heard suffered ‘serious’ sexual violence at Depp’s hands

On Tuesday, the Virginia jury heard evidence of the former Hollywood couple’s volatile marriage.

FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) — Fueled by alcohol, drugs and obsessive jealousy, Johnny Depp raped and assaulted his then-wife Amber Heard in violent episodes, including one when he put a bottle in her vagina, a psychologist testified Tuesday.

“There were a number of incidents of sexual violence in this relationship,” said Dawn Hughes, a forensic psychologist from New York City who examined Heard and reviewed multiple records from other psychologists to make an assessment.

At one point, Depp “performed a cavity search, ostensibly looking for drugs, and felt it acceptable to rip off [Heard’s] nightgown and stick his fingers up her vagina to look for cocaine,” Hughes said.

One of the most severe incidents occurred when Depp and Heard were in Australia in 2015.

“He was beating her and choking her and telling her, ‘I’m going to fucking kill you,’” Hughes told the jury. Depp grabbed a bottle on the bar, Hughes said, and “penetrated her with that bottle.”

At various times, Depp pushed and shoved Heard, slapped her with both sides of his hand, choked her and kicked her in the back, the psychologist said. Heard reported bruising, cuts, vaginal pain from the sexual assaults and scratches from broken glass.

The actor tried to control what Heard wore and didn’t want her to perform with certain actors because of his obsessive jealousy, Hughes said, remarking, “That is what obsessive control looks like.” This made Heard fearful to look at scripts, she explained, responding to questions from Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney.

The “Aquaman” actress suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of domestic violence sustained at the hands of Depp, Hughes said. The diagnosis from Hughes opposes the testimony of another psychologist, Shannon Curry, who was hired by Depp’s legal team and declared that Heard was feigning symptoms of PTSD and instead had borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.

Though Hughes disagreed with that assessment and said she made no such personality disorder diagnoses, she also said that Heard admitted to engaging in psychologically abusive behaviors. Later, Heard “was incredibly saddened and horrified by her behavior,” Hughes said.

The psychologist was the first witness called for Heard after Depp’s attorneys rested their case in the $50 million defamation lawsuit brought by Depp. The actor sued Heard, his ex-wife, three months after an op-ed appeared in The Washington Post in which Heard described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” She didn’t specifically mention Depp but referred to the period in which she was married to him. Depp charged that, as a result, he lost the role for which he is best known: Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise.

The actor lost $40 million in earnings during 2019, estimated Michael Spindler, a forensic accountant who was among the final witnesses to testify for Depp Tuesday morning. Spindler said he relied on the testimony of another witness, Depp’s agent Jack Whigham, who said Depp would have made $22.5 million if he had appeared in a planned sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. The remaining money would have come from other projects.

Depp contends that he never struck or assaulted Heard. Members of Depp’s security team have testified that Heard berated the actor, threw a can at him and punched him in the face.

After Depp’s attorneys rested their case, Benjamin Rottenborn, one of Heard’s attorneys, motioned for Judge Penney Azcarate to toss out the lawsuit. The judge denied the motion but took one issue under advisement, effectively allowing the case to move forward.

Heard has filed a counterclaim asking for $100 million in damages. She is expected to testify as proceedings continue.

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