The musician, who entered a relationship with the filmmaker after they met on the set of 2019’s Honey Boy, describes months of ‘relentless abuse’
FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against ex-partner and filmmaker Shia LaBeouf, citing assault, sexual battery, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit, as shared by the New York Times, describes a “relentless” abusive relationship that took place between 2018 and 2019.
LaBeouf and twigs (born Tahliah Barnett) first met while filming 2019’s Honey Boy, a loosely autobiographical film written and directed by LaBeouf, who also stars across from twigs. When shooting on the film wrapped in 2018, the lawsuit explains, the pair began a relationship, with LaBeouf winning her trust with “over-the-top displays of affection”.
From October 2018, however, LaBeouf reportedly exhibited fits of jealousy and rage at twigs after she moved into his Los Angeles home. “Mental and verbal harassment and mistreatment of Tahliah (twigs) eventually turned into physical violence,” the lawsuit alleges. It also states that LaBeouf knowingly gave the singer a sexually transmitted disease.
At the centre of the lawsuit is a trip that the pair took in 2019, shortly after the premiere of Honey Boy. The document describes how, on their way back to Los Angeles just after Valentine’s Day, LaBeouf was driving recklessly and took off his seatbelt, threatening to crash the car unless she professed her “eternal love” for him. When she tried to escape with her bags at a gas station, he reportedly threw her against the car and screamed in her face before forcing her back into the vehicle. Apparently, LaBeouf had raged at her throughout the trip as well, once waking her in the night and strangling her.
On Thursday, LaBeouf gave a broad response to twigs’s allegations – alongside those of another former girlfriend, the stylist Karolyn Pho – in an email to the New York Times. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he says. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt.”
LaBeouf history of turbulent behaviour is well-documented, including by the actor/director himself; back in 2015, he penned an essay documenting all of the times he’d been arrested up to that point. His previous charges include assault and disorderly conduct, while Pho’s testimony in the lawsuit describes similar patterns of abuse to those cited by twigs.
In a separate email written in response to the detailed claims of his ex-partners, also reported by the Times, he adds that “many of these allegations are not true”, but admits he owes them “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done”. He also notes: “I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism, but I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”
In an Instagram post, meanwhile, FKA twigs explains her reason to speak out about the abusive relationship in the lawsuit. “I have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an intimate partner violent relationship leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option,” she writes.
View her full post below, and read the full New York Times report here.