The dueling testimony in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard took another turn Thursday, with the couple’s therapist, Dr. Laurel Anderson, saying there was “mutual abuse” in the relationship.
The court played Anderson’s videotaped deposition from February where she detailed the couple’s therapy sessions between 2015 and 2016. She said the two sought her out for personal and couples’ sessions that sometimes led to either Depp or Heard walking out.
During a December 2015 phone call with Anderson, Heard told the therapist she slapped Depp while he was sitting incoherent, Anderson recalled. “She initiated that one because I think she felt demeaned and threatened,” Anderson said. On another occasion, Anderson stated Heard threw a can at Depp. Heard told the therapist Depp had been violent with her and that she’d hit him in order to start a fight and make him stay.
Anderson described Depp as a good communicator and said he’s forthcoming when given space to speak without interruption. Depp spoke to Anderson about a fight the couple had on Heard’s 30th birthday. Anderson said, “[Depp] talked about how chaotic it was, how violent it was, and she gave as good as she got.”
Anderson wrote in her notes that Heard, 35, would hit Depp, 58, back as a point of pride but eventually initiated physical abuse.
Asked to give her assessment of the relationship, Anderson said Heard “triggered” Depp.
“I thought he’d been well controlled for decades and with Miss Heard, he was triggered and they engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse,” she said.
The court played testimony earlier in the day from Heard’s former personal assistant Kate James, who worked for the actress between 2012 and 2015. James said in a videotaped deposition that she never witnessed any violence between the couple and never saw Depp mistreat or hit Heard. “If it was true, I would’ve seen the damage even if I wasn’t physically present in the moment of these alleged arguments,” she said.
James described Depp as a “peaceful, shy, quiet” person. She said he was a “Southern gentleman” and “always completely passive.” She added that he was friendly with her young son and taught him to play the guitar. James said she never saw Depp using illegal drugs or abuse alcohol.
“It did not seem like the perfect relationship to me based on a lot of insecurity on her behalf which seemed to cause confusion in the relationship, maybe the age gap was an issue because of their different interests,” James said. “She didn’t like hanging out in his house with his friends because it was boring and they’re all old men playing guitars and it wasn’t interesting to her.”
In contrast to her warm description of Depp, James was critical of her former employer, telling the court that Heard spit in her face, was often intoxicated, was a very dramatic person and verbally abusive, “screaming over the phone, she screamed at me once in person.” James said Heard was also verbally abusive to her sister “like the dog that you’d kick.”
James also said she witnessed Heard take drugs, “mushrooms, ecstasy and cocaine.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in a 2018 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, derailing his career. Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim for defamation for statements made by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman.
Both Depp and Heard are expected to take the stand during the Fairfax, Virginia trial, which is expected to last six weeks.