An expert testified that Johnny Depp appeared to exhibit traits of someone committing intimate partner violence.
Dr. David R. Spiegel from Virginia was called to the stand Monday by Amber Heard's team as an expert witness at Depp's ongoing defamation trial against his ex-wife. The physician psychiatrist spoke about how consistently using substances is like "playing with fire" when it comes to intimate partner violence.
Additionally, Spiegel testified that after reviewing the evidence, like Depp's depositions and more, he determined that the actor's behavior was consistent with someone who committed intimate partner violence during his relationship with Heard. Spiegel clarified that Depp declined that he evaluate him directly.
"In my opinion, based on a review of the evidence, based on my clinical experience, based on my publishing experience, based on my teaching experience, Mr. Depp has behaviors that are consistent with both somebody who has substance abuse disorder, as well as behaviors of someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence," he said.
The courtroom has heard about Depp, 58, previously using drugs and drinking alcohol, sometimes concurrently, between bouts of sobriety. Spiegel said "chronic and continual use" can "take a toll" on someone, affecting their behavior and memory. He said if someone is experiencing a blackout from abusing alcohol with drugs "it's going to be near impossible to remember what happened the night before."
Spiegel said hallmarks of intimate partner violence are a relationship in which someone who is "jealous or suspicious;" someone with "higher than average acceptance of violence ideations;" someone who has "rapid and extreme mood shifts;" and someone with "limited self-control."
"When our brains are intact and working well, most of us don't act them out," he said.
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About Depp's pattern of realizing the alleged abuse when sober, Spiegel said, "It's almost routine that after it was all said and done, he would apologize for letting this 'monster' out, letting this anger out, almost routinely. There's very well record evidence of that starting early, early on in the marriage...."
Spiegel also said professionals in this field "don't expect" survivors of intimate partner violence "to be perfect; we don't expect our victims to be unscathed by what they've received."
Heard, 36, said in her testimony that Depp is "not an accurate historian of what happened," claiming that she chose to take photos and videos of him while allegedly blacked out to prove to him what happened. She has also testified about him allegedly being constantly jealous of her and her costars, trying to control her wardrobe and not let her continue working.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation, seeking $50 million in damages. He argues that her 2018 op-ed about coming forward about domestic abuse claims hurt his career, even though the article didn't mention him by name. She is countersuing for $100 million, claiming he spearheaded a campaign to discredit her and her allegations as a "hoax," tarnishing her career and reputation.
Steve Helber/POOL/AFP/Getty; ELIZABETH FRANTZ/POOL/AFP/Getty Johnny Depp; Amber Heard
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor previously testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, adding that because of Heard's allegations, he lost "nothing short of everything." Depp has said under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman in his life.
During Heard's cross-examination, Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez at one point asked Heard — who testified that she "survived" Depp's alleged abuse and worried he'd eventually kill her — whether she was, in fact, Depp's abuser in their former relationship.
"Mr. Depp is your victim, isn't he?" asked Vasquez, to which Heard responded, "No, ma'am." Vasquez then questioned, "And once he left you, you continued to abuse him publicly by calling him an abuser, didn't you?"
Said Heard, "He is an abuser. And you can look up either of us online and figure out who's being abused online."
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.