What Amber Heard’s alleged Borderline Personality Disorder means

A psychologist for Johnny Depp’s defense during high-profile defamation suit against his former spouse Amber Heard says that his ex wife suffers from borderline personality disorder.

Dr. Shannon Curry, a licensed — but not board certified, Heard’s attorney pointed-out — clinical psychologist, testified on Tuesday, that she believes Heard, “demonstrates psychological symptoms of combined borderline personality disorder (BPD) and histrionic personality disorder.”

Curry, who often works with celebrity clients, she noted in her testimony, 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 36-year-old had “grossly exaggerated” symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to her hostile relationship with Depp, who went from from being “idealized to the dumpster” by Heard, she said.

People with BPD 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, insecure and thus have difficulty maintaining close relationships, according to National Institute of Mental Health.

They’re also both more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, unleash angry outbursts, engage in self-harm and threaten suicide. Relatedly, those with histrionic personality disorder show a flair for dramatics, exhibiting attention-seeking behavior.


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

As the “Aquaman” actress’ 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.

Dr. Shannon Curry

BPD and HPD are classified together in a group of personality disorders marked by a disregard for consequences, alongside antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder — the latter of which surfaced in headlines earlier on Tuesday after shock jockey Howard Stern accused the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor of being a “huge narcissist” — someone with an grossly inflated sense of self-worth — after watching the plaintiff’s “overacting” on the stand earlier this week.

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

Amber Heard in Fairfax, VA court
Johnny Depp in Fairfax, VA court

Though Curry’s assessment is not an official diagnosis, Heard may share that with SNL comic Pete Davidson, who opened up about his struggle with borderline personality disorder last year, and the relief of finally naming 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.

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