Musician and actress FKA twigs is suing her former boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf, citing his history of physical, mental, and emotional abuse throughout their relationship, the New York Times reports. “I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you,” she told the Times in an interview, “and take away your agency.” FKA twigs, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. Court documents obtained by the Times claim that LaBeouf subjected Barnett to “relentless abuse” while they were dating in 2018 and 2019, which includes “sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.” Among other details, Barnett alleges that LaBeouf often grabbed her “to the point of bruising,” knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease, and insisted upon a certain number of times Barnett had to “kiss and touch” him each day. She also claims to have feared going to the bathroom at night, because LaBeouf kept a loaded gun on his bedside table and she was “scared” he would mistake her for an intruder. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she said. “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.”
When reached by the Times for a statement about Barnett’s claims, LaBeouf omitted any comment about the lawsuit. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said in an email. “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.” LaBeouf also cited his ongoing struggle with PTSD and alcoholism, and how he’s currently “a sober member of a 12-step program” and in therapy. The former couple had met while working on LaBeouf’s autobiographical drama film, Honey Boy.
Update: FKA twigs further discussed her “emotionally and physically abusive relationship” with Shia LaBeouf, and her reasons for going public with her experience, on Instagram. “It was hard for me to process too, during and after I never thought something like this would happen to me,” the singer and dancer wrote Friday in a post, which directed readers also experiencing abuse to nonprofits such as FreeFrom, Sistah Space, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“My second worst nightmare is being forced to share with the world that I am a survivor of domestic violence,” she added. “My first worst nightmare is not telling anyone and knowing that I could have helped even just one person by sharing my story.”