FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf, over allegations of “relentless abuse,” including sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress, according to the New York Times.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday, also accuses LaBeouf of knowingly giving the singer a sexually transmitted disease.
A second former partner of LaBeouf’s, a stylist named Karolyn Pho, also detailed similarly abusive behavior in the same lawsuit.
FKA twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, spoke to the New York Times about the lawsuit and her relationship with LaBeouf, whom she dated for less than a year after meeting on the set of 2019’s Honey Boy. “I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she said of her decision to go public and take legal action against LaBeouf.
“What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she added. “I don’t think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that’s the thing. It can happen to anybody.”
FKA twigs cited several traumatic incidents in which LaBeouf displayed aggressive and abusive behavior against her. She specifically described an incident on Valentine’s Day 2019 in which LaBeouf allegedly drove recklessly and threatened to crash the vehicle they were in unless FKA twigs professed her love for him. After she begged to be let out of the car, she said LaBeouf pulled over at a gas station. However, after she took her bags from the trunk, LaBeouf allegedly followed and assaulted her by throwing her against the car and screaming in her face.
FKA twigs claimed LaBeouf would also squeeze or grab her to the point of bruising; became angry when she spoke to or look at other men; had rules for her about how many times a day she had to kiss and touch him; and refused to allow her to wear clothing to bed. The Grammy-nominated musician also said LaBeouf kept a loaded firearm by the bed and she was scared to use the bathroom at night “lest he mistake her for an intruder and shoot her.”
The relationship became so toxic, according to FKA twigs, that it eventually began to impact her recording career. She said LaBeouf questioned the motives of her creative team, and convinced her to remain in Los Angeles, rather than return to London where she could work directly with her collaborators. As such, her management often had difficulty getting in touch with her, leading to a series of album postponements and the rescheduling of a tour.
“He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible,” FKA twigs told the Times.
FKA twigs said she initially did not go to the police over concerns it would harm her own career and also because she believed the allegations would not be taken seriously. It was only after the 32-year-old singer received the help of a therapist that she found the resolve to finally leave LaBeouf.
FKA twigs intends to donate a significant portion of any monetary damages from the lawsuit to domestic-violence charities.
In an email response addressing the allegations, LaBeouf told the New York Times, “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. 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. There is nothing else I can really say.”
He asserted that “many of these allegations are not true,” but said he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
LaBeouf, 34, also said he is “a sober member of a 12-step program” and in therapy. “I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism,” he wrote, “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.”
LaBeouf has a history of aggressive behavior, and has been previously arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. One of the more public incidents involved a menacing confrontation with actress and former girlfriend Mia Goth in 2015, which was caught on video. After they parted ways that same day, LaBeouf was filmed saying, “If I’d have stayed there, I would’ve killed her.