Psychologist Testifies to Diagnosing Amber Heard With Borderline Personality Disorder

A psychologist hired by Johnny Depp's legal team testified about the actress' diagnosis.

Amber Heard's mental health was a main topic of testimony in court on Tuesday. Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensics psychologist hired by Johnny Depp's legal team amid his ongoing defamation trial against his ex, testified that she diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. ET has reached out to Heard for comment.

Dr. Curry's diagnoses, which she described as "two sides of the same coin," came after reviewing "multiple sources" including testing, Heard's past medical records, the actress' self-report, and two meetings with the Aquaman star.

Dr. Curry described personality as "the way we think, we feel and we act that make us who we are." Thus a personality disorder, she said, "is some sort of dysfunction in those enduring traits."

"When we have a personality disorder, there are going to be disturbances in several different areas that are visible in almost all different facets of their life," she said.

When it comes to histrionic personality disorder, Dr. Curry said that the hallmarks include "an overly dramatic presentation," "drama and shallowness," a need to "always be the center of attention," and a "quick shift" between emotions.

"She would suddenly be one way, and then she would become very animated or very sad," Dr. Curry said of Heard. "When people are displaying these emotions with a personality disorder, there's a sense of shallowness to it. People who are observing them will feel like it's almost play-acting... She never really indicated a vulnerable feeling of her own."

While evaluating Heard, Dr. Curry said she noticed that the actress had "a very sophisticated way of minimizing any personal problems." 

People who have the same diagnoses as Heard, Dr. Curry testified, also exhibit characteristics such as "externalization of blame, tending to have a lot of inner-hostility that is attempted to be controlled, a tendency to be very self-righteous, but to also deny that self-righteousness and to also judge others critically against these sort of high standards for moral value."

"These people might have this anger explode out at times. They tend to be very passive-aggressive. They may be self-indulgent, very self-centered," she said. "They could use manipulation tactics to try to get their needs met. They're very needed of attention, acceptance, approval... They're very socially sophisticated... There can be a lot cruelty, especially with people who are less powerful."

As for borderline personality disorder, Dr. Curry explained that it's characterized by "instability" in personal relationships, emotions, behavior, sense of self and identity, as well as "emotional reactivity," all of which is "driven by this underlying terror of abandonment."

People with the disorder, Dr. Curry said, "make desperate attempts" to keep people from abandoning them, using "behaviors that are very extreme and concerning to the people around them" when they do so.

Borderline personality disorder causes people to start relationships "very intensely," before turning negative.

"Initially everything seems great, but what occurs is that reality sets in. People are not perfect even when we have a lot in common with them. Whereas most of us can accept somebody as a whole... the person with borderline personality disorder, things are these extremes, it's black and white. We call it splitting," Dr. Curry said. "That person goes idealized, the perfect person, to dumpster... Then there will be a repair, because the person with this disorder does feel remorseful... but over time it wears away at these relationships."

Dr. Curry later described Heard as "very likable," but testified that her testing "showed that she approached it in a manor... that very clearly minimized any psychological dysfunction" and "presented herself as free of any problems."

"She did so in a way that was very sophisticated, not obvious," Curry added of Heard.

Additionally, Dr. Curry said that she does not believe that Heard has PTSD as the actress has claimed.

"Ms. Heard did not have PTSD," Dr. Curry said, "and there were also pretty significant indications that she was grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them."



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