Johnny Depp and Amber Heard engaged in "mutual abuse" throughout their relationship, a therapist for the couple has said.

Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychotherapist who saw the pair on multiple occasions, said Mr Depp told her that his former wife "gave as good as she got" during their fights.

The actor is suing Ms Heard for libel over a 2018 op-ed written in the Washington Post which his lawyers say contained false allegations that he physically and sexually assaulted her while they were married.

Giving evidence at the US trial on Thursday, Ms Anderson said Mr Depp struggled to keep up with Ms Heard’s "jackhammer style of talking" during their sessions.

"She was very amped up," she told jurors at the Fairfax County District courthouse.

"This is how (Mr Depp) didn’t have a voice, he couldn’t keep up with her rapid-fire style of conversation.

"He had been well controlled for decades, with Ms Heard he was triggered and they engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse."

Amber Heard pictured at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, on 14 April 2022

Ms Anderson said that Ms Heard reported that she had been violent towards her former partner, saying it was a "point of pride" to initiate a fight if she felt "disrespected".

"She felt she had to hit him back if he hit her so she always did," she said.

"She loved him, he loved her… she wasn’t stupid, she knew what they were doing wasn’t healthy so she wanted to want to divorce him but she didn’t."

The court previously heard testimony, via video, from Ms Heard’s former personal assistant Kate James who said the actress had sent her "barrages" of abusive text messages.

Ms James, who worked for the actress from 2012 to 2015, said the verbal attacks often made "no sense" and that Ms Heard needed "someone to lash out at".

She was previously called to give evidence in Mr Depp’s 2020 trial in London, in which he sued the publisher of The Sun newspaper over an article that referred to him as a "wife-beater".

The actor was refused permission to appeal the case at the Court Of Appeal after a judge found that the claims in the article were proved to be "substantially true".

Ms Heard’s Washington Post article was titled "I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath".

It did not mention Mr Depp by name.

Source: Press Association