Amber Heard lost 25 lbs due to Johnny Depp's alleged 'abuse', claims forensic psychologist
Dr Dawn Hughes – who evaluated Heard – said that the actress dropped 25 lbs, going from 130 lbs to 105 lbs
Warning: The article contains details of incidents of sexual and domestic abuse which can be triggering to some readers
Amber Heard took the witness stand Wednesday, May 4 to defend herself in the defamation suit filed by her former husband, fellow actor Johnny Depp, who accused her of falsely alleging that he abused her at home. The high-profile trial, which is being held in Fairfax County, Virginia, is in its fourth week. Heard told jurors about her whirlwind romance with fellow actor Depp — a volatile relationship that she alleges often turned violent.
Appearing on the stand on Tuesday, May 3, Dr Dawn Hughes, the forensic psychologist testified that Heard dropped 25 lbs due to the alleged abuse by Depp. Speaking to the court, Hughes – who evaluated Heard – said that she dropped 25 lbs, going from 130 lbs to 105 lbs. Hughes also said that the 36-year-old endured more outbursts of anger and took "significantly more medication." She told the jury that she conducted a psychological evaluation of Heard and met with her for a total of around 29 hours – in a mix of in-person and Zoom sessions. She called the mixture of Depp's substance abuse and the violence a "very, very disastrous mix." "When alcohol and drugs came together was when Heard was more in danger of being hurt by him." She also said that she "diagnosed Ms Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)", during their time together.
Hughes' testimony contradicts that of a psychologist, Dr Shannon Curry hired by Depp's lawyers, who said Heard was faking her symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. At the time, Curry told the court that there were "pretty significant indications that Heard was grossly exaggerating the symptoms of PTSD."
"The main opinion is that Ms Heard’s report of intimate partner violence and the records I reviewed is consistent with what we know in the field about intimate partner violence, characterized by physical violence, psychological aggression and coercive control," said Hughes when she was asked for her professional opinion during the trial. Hughes also testified that Heard initially described occasions where Depp forced her to have sex as "angry sex." She also said that Heard said it was sometimes the case that "my temper explodes."
Hughes outlined a number of horrifying instances where she claims Heard told her about sexual violence committed on her by Depp. She said that the physical violence suffered by Heard includes Depp pushing her, shoving her, choking her and kicking her in the back. She suffered 'mostly bruising', cuts and 'vaginal pain' from some of the sexual assaults. Hughes explained why women stay in violent relationships. She said: "For the loving man, stay for the man who is kind, (the man she) had hoped and promised for their future. Some people stay because they have economic reasons, some people have children in common and don't want to deprive their children of a father. The most dangerous time for a woman is when she's leaving - her likelihood of being killed increases substantially. Staying keeps her safe."
Depp's lawyer, Wayne Dennison cross-examined Hughes on Wednesday, May 4. He pressed Hughes on her use of the pronoun "she" and asked if Hughes even spoke to Depp during her evaluation. Hughes said: "I was using she and her because my determination was Miss Heard was the victim of intimate partner violence. You can get a lot of information from one party, especially when it's buttressed by therapy records and couple's therapy. I also read Mr. Depp's transcripts, I reviewed his medical records, his texts message. I was not necessarily totally blind."
The court was shown the knife that Heard bought Depp as a present with the inscription 'Hasta la muerte', or "until death" in Spanish. Raising his voice, Dennison said: "A woman you suggest has characteristics of being afraid for her life gives her intimate partner a large knife on which she inscribes until death?" Hughes protested that 'there's context' to the gift.
During cross-examination on Wednesday, #JohnnyDepp’s attorney Wayne Dennison grilled a forensic psychologist about her use of the pronouns “she or her” when referring to a victim. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/Ds9R53idjR— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 4, 2022
Heard's lawyers made a last-ditch effort to have the case dismissed, only for the judge to deny their request. Heard's lawyers asked Judge Penney Azcarate to dismiss the case, saying Depp had not proven his claims.Heard's personal nurse, Erin Falati, also known as Erin Boerum appeared on a video deposition on Tuesday, May 3. She walked through her notes of her treatment of Heard, starting with their first meeting in August 2014. The notes state that Heard "reports history of substance abuse including an addiction to cocaine and liquor."
Who is Dr Dawn Hughes?
Dr Dawn Hughes is an American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certified forensic psychologist based in New York City. She reportedly has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a diploma from ABPP in Forensic Psychology. She has an independent psychology practice in New York City, where she is also an assistant professor of psychiatry. She has been a forensic and clinical psychologist for more than 25 years.