Johnny Depp and Amber Heard‘s marriage counselor said Thursday that the actress initiated physical fights more than once, but that the couple engaged in ‘mutual abuse.’

Dr. Laurel Anderson, a marriage counselor who worked with the former spouses for a total of 21 sessions beginning in October 2015, gave revealing testimony during Depp’s $100million defamation trial in Virginia

‘I know she led (the fights) on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare,’ Dr. Anderson said. 

‘Miss Heard reported that it was a point of pride to her, if she felt disrespected to initiate a fight. Her father had beaten her, she was not going to end.

‘If he was going to leave she would strike him to keep him there. She would rather be in a fight than have him leave.’

Asked if it was her assessment that while Depp said he wasn’t violent with any of his other partners, there was violence from him towards Heard, she said yes. 

She said: ‘He had been well controlled for almost 20, 30 years and both (Depp and Heard) were victims of abuse in their homes. 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.’ 

Dr. Laurel Anderson, a marriage counselor who worked with the couple for a total of 21 sessions beginning in October 2015, gave revealing testimony during Depp's $100million defamation trial in Virginia

Dr. Laurel Anderson, a marriage counselor who worked with the couple for a total of 21 sessions beginning in October 2015, gave revealing testimony during Depp’s $100million defamation trial in Virginia

Dr. Anderson said, 'I know she led (the fight) on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare'

Dr. Anderson said, ‘I know she led (the fight) on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare’

Dr. Anderson gave the couple the fake names ‘Ann Henry’ and ‘Joey Davis’, apparently to protect their identities. 

For their first meeting she sat with the former couple for three-and-a-half hours, Dr. Anderson said.

In her notes she said that one time one of the parties ‘walked out’, but she was not clear who.

Depp and Heard are seen in September 2015 in Venice, Italy - the same year a blowout fight in Australia took place

Depp and Heard are seen in September 2015 in Venice, Italy – the same year a blowout fight in Australia took place 

The sessions continued until March 2016 when a friend of Depp and Heard asked Dr. Anderson to make a house call but she resisted as she had never done that.

She said: ‘I thought he (Deppp) was having difficulty in the sessions and I think it was something about the process between the two of them.’

Asked what difficulty, she said: ‘Having a voice. Miss Heard had a jackhammer style of talking. She was very amped up. He had trouble talking at a similar pace. He was cut off a lot.

‘I’m guessing this is what it was. This is how he didn’t have a voice. He couldn’t talk with her rapid-fire way of conversation so he was really overwhelmed.’

Asked if Heard reported violence on the part of Depp, Dr. Anderson said yes.

She recalled seeing photos of Heard with a bruised face with bruising around her eyes, though she never witnessed the abuse herself. 

Dr. Anderson’s notes show that Heard claimed Depp told her: ‘Johnny says no one likes you, you’re getting fame from me. I’m falling out of love with you, who*e.’

Dr. Anderson described Depp and Heard arguing as going ‘back and forth firing at each other. They don’t communicate, they have terrible skills.’

Heard ‘talked over’ Depp and Dr. Anderson had to tell her that a conversation was ‘impossible’ if she was ‘barraging’ the conversation. 

As part of Depp's $50m defamation case against Heard, he included images of his own bruised and battered face (pictured ) following Heard's alleged attacks

Depp bruised

As part of Depp’s  defamation case against Heard, he included images of his own bruised and battered face (pictured ) following Heard’s alleged attacks

This photo shown in court from May 2016 of Amber Heard with an apparently bruised cheek, which has been referred to as an exhibit

Another photo shown to court shows a mark below her eye in an alleged attack Heard claims was her ex-husband's final act or violence towards her

These photos were previously shown in court from May 2016 of Amber Heard with an apparently bruised cheek

Depp claimed that Heard hit him in the jaw, Dr. Anderson’s notes said – while he would swing at her. 

The notes, which were read to the jury, said: ‘He (Depp) hits her (Heard), no closed fist. She hits back and starts it for pride because her father hit her.’

Dr. Anderson told the court: ‘This is her reporting physical abuse, so when she said he hits her, an open hand slap, she says she hits back and now she starts it and sometimes hits first.

‘Her history is having been violated by her father, physically. A lot of things trigger her, if she’s triggered she would hit him first.

‘She was sensitive to feeling disrespected. If she felt disrespected – she had come out of her background history feeling her pride needed to dominate and she needed to stand up for herself.’

Asked about a reference to Heard saying she ‘socked’ Depp, Dr. Anderson said: ‘She felt she had to hit him back if he hit her. She always did.’

During a phone session with Heard, Dr. Anderson’s notes said that Heard said she ‘slapped (Depp) as he sat there incoherently.’

Dr. Anderson said that Heard told her how Depp ‘was f**** up on a lot of drugs and she slapped him because he was being incoherent and talking about being with another woman.

‘I think she felt demeaned and threatened.’

During a session in the summer of 2016, Depp recounted how there was a ‘huge fight’ on Heard’s 30th birthday on April 22 that year.

Depp said it was ‘chaotic, violent but she (Heard) gave as good as she got.’

According to Dr. Anderson’s notes, Heard ‘eventually initiated the hitting herself’ and talked about ‘trying to initiate a fight one night by slapping him,’ referring to Depp.

Heard went to see Dr. Anderson in person to show her the bruises on her face she claims were inflicted by Depp during their last fight in May 2016.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s caustic relationship 

February 3, 2015

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard marry in a private civil ceremony at their LA home, four years after they met as co-stars on the set of The Rum Diary. The couple celebrate with a lavish reception on an idyllic private island in the Bahamas that Depp bought in 2004 for $3.6 million.

April 21, 2015

Heard breaches Australia’s biosecurity laws when she and Depp fail to declare their two Yorkshire terriers when they arrive Down Under on a private jet for the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Heard admits falsifying quarantine documents and is placed on a $1,000 one-month good behavior bond.

May 23, 2016

Heard files for divorce after 15 months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. Four days later a judge issues a temporary restraining order against Depp over domestic violence allegations. Pictures of Heard’s alleged injuries hit the tabloids but the LAPD finds no evidence of a crime.

August 16, 2016

Depp and Heard reach a $7 million divorce settlement which the actress promises to give to charity. Their marriage was ‘intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,’ the former lovers say in a statement. ‘There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm’.

December 18, 2018

The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Heard, an ambassador for women’s rights at for the American Civil Liberties Union, urging support for women who suffer domestic violence. ‘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,’ reads the headline.

March 1, 2019

Despite not being named in the article, Depp files a $50 million defamation suit in Fairfax Circuit Court, Virginia saying it implied he was an abuser and got him fired from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Depp dismisses Heard’s abuse allegations as a ‘hoax’ and claims he was actually the victim of her violence.

August 10, 2020

Heard countersues for $100 million, claiming vengeful Depp and his lawyer Adam Waldman targeted her with a vicious smear campaign, using media allies and internet trolls to amplify false stories about her and derail her acting career.

November 1, 2020

Depp faces an uphill battle to save his reputation after he loses a libel battle with a British tabloid that labeled him a ‘wife beater’. A judge in London’s rules that The Sun’s 2018 article was ‘substantially true’ and that the father-of-two had attacked Heard a dozen times, causing her to fear for her life on three occasions.

April 11, 2022

After lengthy delays due to the Covid pandemic, the former flames finally lock horns in Fairfax County, Virginia where the Washington Post servers that published the disputed op-ed are based. The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks and celebrities tipped to give evidence include James Franco, Paul Bettany and Ellen Barkin.

 



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