Amber Heard diagnosed with disorder during Johnny Depp defamation trial

Fairfax, Virginia - Johnny Depp's ex-wife, Amber Heard, displays signs of a personality disorder which involves "extreme effort to be the center of attention," a forensic psychologist said during another dramatic day in the defamation lawsuit brought by the star against his former partner.

Johnny Depp has accused his ex Amber Heard of subjecting him to domestic abuse.
Johnny Depp has accused his ex Amber Heard of subjecting him to domestic abuse.  © Collage: REUTERS

Dr. Shannon Curry said the Heard suffered from borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder, which can involve "manipulation tactics to try and get their needs met."

Dr. Curry also said she had not suffered – as Heard had previously claimed – from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from her relationship with Johnny Depp.

Depp is suing his former partner for libel over a 2018 article she wrote in The Washington Post, which his lawyers say falsely implies he physically and sexually abused her.

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Giving evidence at the trial on Tuesday, Dr Curry discussed her observations from clinical interviews she had conducted with Heard, and said they were consistent with the disorders.

"[There is] a tendency to be very self-righteous but to also deny that self-righteousness and to judge others critically against these high standards."

"They could use manipulation tactics to try and get their needs met, very needy of attention, approval, acceptance."

"They tend to distance people who are close to them. Initially, they may seem very charming. They're very socially sophisticated, actually."

Dr Curry added that the instability of a borderline personality disorder can be driven by a "terror of abandonment".

"When someone is afraid of being abandoned by their partner or by anyone else... they will make desperate attempts to prevent that from happening," she said.

"Oftentimes their partners will try to make them happy at first and allow themselves to be a punching bag, thinking that they can somehow solve this problem... eventually it just overwhelms them."

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Forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry testifying in court.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry testifying in court.  © REUTERS

Dr. Curry explained that one of the "hallmark characteristics" of a histrionic personality disorder was "dramatic presentation" which she said Heard had demonstrated.

"When people are displaying these emotions with this personality disorder, there's a sense of shallowness to it," she said.

"People who are observing them will feel like it's almost play-acting.

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"This disorder involves extreme discomfort with not being the center of attention, extreme efforts to be the center of attention."

"When they feel they're not the center of attention, you will see some strange things [like] making up stories to try and get attention [or] taking on the victim or princess role."

"Those are two roles in particular that are pretty consistent."

On the subject of Heard's alleged PTSD, Dr Curry said it was a "really tough disorder to find out if someone is faking it or not.

"It's one of the most easily faked disorders, most of us know what it's like to feel anxious and a lot of people have seen war movies that depict someone having PTSD."

Asked about her conclusions, she said: "Ms Heard did not have PTSD and there were pretty significant indications that she was grossly exaggerating the symptoms of PTSD when asked about them."

In his own evidence, Depp has alleged that he, and not Heard, had been the victim of abuse, describing multiple incidents when the Aquaman star had thrown objects at him.

Heard's lawyers cross-examined Dr. Curry about her potential bias, having been hired by Depp and having had dinner and drinks with the actor and his legal team before her appointment. She said that this had been part of the interview process.

Heard is also expected to take the stand in the trial, which is taking place at the Fairfax County District Courthouse in Virginia, and is expected to last a total of seven weeks.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS

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