‘People wouldn’t think that it would happen to a woman like me’
Ahead of her first TV interview about the alleged abuse she suffered while in a relationship with Shia LaBeouf, FKA twigs has spoken out about what she calls “relentless” mistreatment, saying: “It’s a miracle I came out alive.” The musician (real name Tahliah Barnett) filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf late last year, citing assault, sexual battery, and intentional emotional distress.
The pair entered a relationship after they met on the set of Honey Boy, a loosely autobiographical film written and directed by LaBeouf, who also starred across from twigs. From October 2018, after she moved into his home, the actor allegedly exhibited fits of jealousy and rage towards her. “Mental and verbal harassment and mistreatment of Tahliah (twigs) eventually turned into physical violence,” the lawsuit states, adding that LaBeouf knowingly gave her a sexually-transmitted disease.
On a road trip in 2019, shortly after the Honey Boy premiere, LaBeouf reportedly drove recklessly, taking off his seatbelt and threatening to crash the car unless she professed her “eternal love” for him. When she tried to escape at a gas station, she says, he screamed in her face and threw her against the vehicle. “People wouldn’t think that it would happen to a woman like me,” the musician says in a new interview with Elle. “It can happen to anyone.”
Speaking to Gayle King for her forthcoming CBS interview, she adds: “There wasn’t one set moment, but it’s very subtle. That's the thing about domestic abuse, domestic violence, that it’s a real gradual step-by-step process to get somebody to a place where they lose themselves so much that they accept or feel like they deserve to be treated in that way. It’s not one thing, it’s loads of tiny little things that get sewn together into a nightmare.”
Apparently, coronavirus lockdowns – and the realisation of how many women were stuck at home with their abusers – acted as a catalyst for FKA twigs to speak out publicly about the alleged abuse. “It made me realize I need to come forward and talk about my experience,” she tells Elle.
Following twigs’ allegations against LaBeouf, the actor and filmmaker was dropped by his agency. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said in a statement. “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.” However, LaBeouf also says that “many of these allegations are not true”. The actor’s lawyer says that he denies “each and every” allegation in the lawsuit.