What Amber Heard’s alleged Borderline Personality Disorder means

A psychologist for Johnny Depp’s defense in his high-profile defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard said that the actress suffers from borderline personality disorder.

Dr. Shannon Curry, who is a licensed — but not board certified, as Heard’s attorney pointed out — clinical psychologist, testified on Tuesday that she believes Heard, “demonstrates psychological symptoms of combined borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder,” evidenced by “an overly dramatic presentation” with “impressionistic speech” that “really lacks any substance,” Curry explained at one point.

Curry, who noted in her testimony that she often works with celebrity clients, based her evaluation on case materials provided by Depp’s attorneys as well as two arranged interviews with Heard.

The expert witness also concluded that the “self-righteous” 36-year-old had “grossly exaggerated” symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder due to her hostile relationship with Depp, who went from from being “idealized to the dumpster” by Heard, Curry said. Her statement led later testimony on that Heard had shown dubious signs of abuse, such as LAPD Officer Melissa Saenz who “did not identify her as a victim of domestic violence” when called to the couple’s home in 2016.

Dr. Shannon Curry testified Tuesday in a Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom on behalf of Johnny Depp in his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard.

People with borderline personality disorder are known to suffer severe mood swings due to a neurological imbalance that impairs their ability to rationally balance their emotions. For this reason, BPD patients tend to be more impulsive, reckless and insecure, and thus have difficulty maintaining close relationships, according to National Institute of Mental Health.

Those diagnosed with the condition often struggle with substance abuse and are prone to angry outbursts, self-harm and threatening suicide. Relatedly, those with histrionic personality disorder tend to have a penchant for the dramatic while exhibiting attention-seeking behavior.


Not to be confused with mood disorders, which are characterized by patients’ individual emotional patterns (e.g., bipolar disorder or clinical depression), personality disorders describe people who have a harmful and counterproductive relationship with society.

As the “Aquaman” star’s lawyers continued to question Curry’s opinion of their client’s mental health status, they also suggested that Depp, 58, had provoked Heard’s alleged violent reactions by “gaslighting,” a tactic of manipulation frequently employed by narcissists.


Both BPD and HPD fall into a subcategory of personality disorders all characterized by a disregard for consequences. Also in this group: antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder — the latter of which surfaced in headlines earlier Tuesday after shock jockey Howard Stern accused Depp of being a “huge narcissist” after watching the plaintiff’s “overacting” on the stand earlier this week. Generally, a narcissist is defined as someone with a grossly inflated sense of self-worth.

While Stern is no psychologist, it doesn’t take a scientist to spot the parallels between events of the embattled relationship — the arguments, accusations, addictions and alleged violence — and key symptoms indicative of both BPD and narcissism. Moreover, those with either disorder are prone to rush into relationships out of their deep desire for a new partner’s admiration, and end them just as quickly, as soon as that initial shine fades — all of which makes the pairing a potentially volatile combo.


Though Curry’s assessment is not an official diagnosis, Heard may share that with SNL comic Pete Davidson, who has been open about his struggles with borderline personality disorder, and the relief he felt upon being diagnosed, finally able to name the problem.

If you or someone you know is at risk of hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.