FAIRFAX, Va. (CN) —The abuse between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp was mutual, according to a California clinical psychologist whose videotaped deposition was shown Thursday during a trial in which the two have accused one another of defamation.
At first Depp hit Heard and, as a point of pride, she would hit him back, testified Laurel Anderson, a Los Angeles-based therapist who worked with the couple during their 15-month marriage, which ended in 2016. Eventually, Heard initiated the violence.
In couples therapy, Heard had a “jackhammer style of talking. She was very amped up.” Anderson described Depp as overwhelmed.
“He had trouble talking at a similar pace,” she said. “He was cut off a lot.”
Thursday was the third day of trial stemming from an op-ed Heard penned in December 2018. Published in The Washington Post, the piece focused on helping victims of domestic violence and appeared just as the movie “Aquaman,” in which Heard starred, was released.
In one sentence, Heard wrote that two years ago she had become a public figure representing domestic violence. That corresponded to the period in which she was married to Depp — whom she had earlier accused of abuse. Three months later, Depp sued for defamation. His lawsuit asserted that he wanted to clear his name and take home $50 million. Heard later filed a counterclaim asking for $100 million in damages and charging that Depp had defamed her.
One of the central arguments made by Depp’s attorneys is that Heard was lying when she said she was a victim of abuse. While she never personally saw the two become violent, Anderson remembered that Heard had bruises on her face after one altercation.
Anderson was one of three witnesses to appear via taped deposition — many of the witnesses are from California. Another was Kate James, who once worked as Heard’s personal assistant but was angry when the actress fired her. She characterized her pay as "insulting" and said Heard screamed and spit in her face when she asked for a raise. Depp, James said, was patient with her young son, even giving him a guitar pick.
A third deposition shown to jurors was of David Kipper, who treated Depp for polysubstance abuse.
Kipper, who practices in California, received a rambling text in 2015, in which Depp declared, "I cannot live like this" and described his then wife Heard as desperate for success and fame. “So very sad I cut the top of my middle finger off. "
At the time, Kipper was visiting Depp in Australia, where the actor was filming one of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Called to the actor’s residence, Kipper arrived to find Depp sitting in a car with a severed finger.
"The house was a mess,” Kipper recalled. “There were things on the floor. There were things that had been thrown around, it looked like. Just things were out of order in that house.” He added that there was blood on the wall.
Depp’s lawsuit contends that Heard “shattered the bones in the tip of Mr. Depp’s right middle finger, almost completely cutting it off” when she tossed a vodka bottle at him.
Kipper’s deposition differs in that Depp apparently reported that he cut the finger off himself. But the jury only saw the first half of the deposition. The remainder will not be shown to the jury until Monday.
The one witness who appeared in person, Gina Deuters, a friend of Depp, was excused and her testimony stricken from the record after she admitted that she had seen clips of the trial online.
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