Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: Couple’s former marriage counselor says pair engaged in ‘mutual abuse’

Dr Lauren Anderson was called as a witness in defamation trial

<p>Amber Heard and Johnny Depp during their defamation trial on 14 April 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia</p>

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp during their defamation trial on 14 April 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s former marriage counselor told a courtroom the couple engaged in what she saw as “mutual abuse”.

Dr Laurel Anderson was called as a witness on Thursday (14 April) as part of the defamation trial opposing Depp and Heard in Fairfax, Virginia. She was asked about some of her past sessions with the pair.

Asked whether Heard had ever reported any physical violence by Depp to her, Dr Anderson said yes. Asked whether she had seen photos, she said she had but doesn’t remember when. Asked whether “there was violence from Mr Depp toward Amber”, she said: “Yes, you’re right.”

“He had been well controlled for, I don’t know – 20, 30 years, and both were victims of abuse in their homes, but I thought he had been well controlled for decades,” she added. “And then with Ms Heard he was triggered and they engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.”

Dr Anderson added: “Sometimes – I know she led on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her, because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare. And I think he may have initiated it on occasions too. That I’m less sure of.”

Dr Anderson told the court that Heard had reported to her that “it was a point of pride to [Heard] if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight,” and that “if he was going to leave her to deescalate the fight, she would strike him to keep him there – she would rather be in a fight than have him leave.”

Depp has sued Heard, his ex-wife, in Virginia over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. Heard has counter-sued him, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

The trial started on Monday (11 April) with jury selection and is expected to last a total of six weeks.

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