Who is Dr. David Spiegel? Psychiatrist claims Johnny Depp's behaviour is characteristic of intimate partner violence

Dr. David Spiegel and Johnny Depp in the trial (Image via Law&Crime Network/YouTube, and Jim Lo Scalzo/POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. David Spiegel and Johnny Depp in the trial (Image via Law&Crime Network/YouTube, and Jim Lo Scalzo/POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

Following the testimony of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Moore, psychiatrist Dr. David Spiegel testifies against Johnny Depp. This marks the sixth of Depp's defamation lawsuit trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Dr. David Spiegel was brought in as an expert witness by Heard's lawyers and was later questioned by Elaine Bredehoft to favor their arguments against Depp with the psychologist's assessment of the actor. Meanwhile, Spiegel's opinion elicited multiple objections from Depp's legal team, who cross-questioned him about his experience on the topic of his claims against the actor.

In his testimony, Spiegel also gave his expert opinion about the alleged damage caused to Johnny Depp's memory due to his past drug abuse. In late April, Depp's legal team had also brought in forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry. At the time, she shared her diagnosis of Heard, where she stated that the actress had Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

What did Dr. David Spiegel say about Johnny Depp's psychological issues?


Throughout his testimony, Spiegel implied that the actor's behavior during his relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard was most likely related to substance abuse. Furthermore, Dr. David Spiegel revealed that he had tried to meet and interview the Pirates of the Caribbean star twice to assess the 58-year-old actor better but was declined both times.

In the trial, the psychiatrist was questioned whether he thought that Johnny Depp's past drug addiction impaired his ability to function properly. Spiegel was also asked if he thought Depp's ability to perform on-camera was affected.

The board-certified psychiatrist claimed that he knew Johnny Depp had to be fed lines during some performances of his films amid his phase of drug abuse. Dr. David Spiegel also suggested that the actor's memory had been impaired along with his "thinking rate."

He claimed that Depp's former therapist asked him to remember three words for five minutes and then recite them. However, the actor was reportedly unable to remember the words. Dr. Spiegel added:

"Mr. Depp was unable to recall any of them and that's very unusual for a 50-ish year old male."

Dr. David Spiegel's claims of intimate partner violence by Johnny Depp

He discussed Johnny Depp's alleged involvement with intimate partner abuse and stated that the actor's behavior was repetitive.

Spiegel said:

"Mr. Depp has behaviors that are consistent with someone that both has substance use disorder as well as behaviors of someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence."

According to the CDC, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) refers to abuse that occurs in a romantic relationship. This can include episodic outbursts of violence and aggression towards current and former spouses. The violence can range from physical, s*xual, psychological abuse, and more.


Dr. David Spiegel also said:

"We all get angry as people, we all think things about people. The difference is when our brains are intact and acting well, most of us do not act them out…Control is the endgame of intimate partner violence."

What is known about Dr. David Spiegel, who testified against Johnny Depp?

Dr. David Spiegel is a Virginia-based psychiatrist who claims to have treated and worked with thousands of patients, of which around 75 percent suffered from drug abuse-related issues. Spiegel is currently associated with East Virginia Medical School (EVMS) as a professor. According to his profile, he joined the institute in 2001 after a decade of private practice as a psychiatrist.

Spiegel completed his psychiatry residency at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Hershey-Penn State after he received his medical degree from the SUNY-Health Science Center in Brooklyn. He also has a psychology degree from Duke University. According to his profile on EVMS' website,

"His areas of interest include behavioral treatments for geriatrics and the interface between cognitive therapy and psychopharmacology for anxiety and mood disorders."

As a psychiatrist, Spiegel also holds multiple certifications from the boards, including a diploma from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology/Psychiatry. Furthermore, he received the Virginia Livings' Top Doctor award in 2018.

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Edited by Babylona Bora
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