Psychologist Dr Dawn Hughes on Tuesday (3 May) testedified that Johnny Depp “kicked” Amber Heard “in the back” in a jealous rage over James Franco.
Dr Hughes was the first witness who tested on behalf of Ms Heard after Mr Depp’s lawyers rested their case on Tuesday, following more than three weeks of evidence and testimony in the defamation suit brought by the Pirates of the Carribbean actor against his ex-wife.
While she was on the stand, Dr Hughes claimed Mr Depp perpetrated multiple acts of sexual and physical violence against Ms Heard over the course of their tumultous marriage, which ended in divorce in 2016.
Dr Hughes referred to the “Boston plane incident” which reportedly occurred on 24 May 2014 when “Ms Heard and Mr Depp were going to fly back to LA and spend the weekend together” because they had been on shoot at separate locations.
“Ms Heard is on the plane, waiting for Mr Depp to come on. He’s reportedly sitting in the SUV smoking weed and drinking. She is filming with James Franco at this point,” Dr Hughes said.
“He gets on the plane and starts talking about James Franco, making a lot of derogatory comments about her. ‘Hope you had fun with your escapades’ and some more inflammatory language,” she added.
“Then in an argument when she got up to leave, he kicked her in the back. She went forward on the plane, to the front of the plane.”
Ms Heard and Mr Franco were shooting in New York for their then-forthcoming film The Adderall Diariesand were photographed on set by paparazzi on 30 May 2014.
During Mr Depp’s libel suit against UK-based The Sun newspaper over an article which branded him a “wife-beater”, the 58-year-old actor denied the accusations and told the court he slipped in the bathroom for the rest of the flight.
Last week, it was reported that Mr Franco – who was listed as a potential witness for Ms Heard along with Elon Musk – would not testify during the trial.
The New-York based clinical and forensic psychologist also claimed in court that Mr. Depp was insecure of “almost every person” with whom Ms Heard was in a film.
“There would be those barrages of the consistent accusations of infidelity,” Dr Hughes told jurors, adding, “Billy Bob [Thornton] was one person he continued to berate her about having an affair with.”
Dr Hughes said she had diagnosed Ms Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the alleged intimate partner violence perpetrated by Mr Depp.
She claimed Ms Heard reported Mr. Depp had “pushed”, “shved”, “slapped”, and “choked” her. She also claimed that he “slammed her into a wall” and kicked her.
The psychologist said Ms Heard claimed to suffer from bruises, cuts and “vaginal pain” stemming from sexual assaults.
The goes against statements made by psychologist Dr Shannon Curry, who was called by Mr Depp’s team and tested earlier in the trial, that Ms Heard has “histrionic and borderline personality disorders” and “grossly exaggerated symptoms of PTSD”.
Dr Hughes also dismissed the claim that the couple was responsible for “mutual abuse”, as tested by their marriage counsellor earlier in the trial.
In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote, “Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr. Depp for nuisance and immunity from his claims.
Follow live updates of Depp v Heard trial here.