FKA twigs has opened up about her allegedly abusive relationship with Shia LaBeouf in a new interview, going into further detail about his behaviour and ways she claims he controlled her during their relationship from mid-2018 and June 2019.
FKA twigs, 33 (whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett) claims LaBeouf, 34, used “maze-like” tactics to control her during the 12 months they were officially together, and was prone to textbook manipulative behaviour like love-bombing and gaslighting as well as social isolation, and sleep deprivation to maintain control.
She likened her experiences with LaBeouf as a “frog in cool water, heated up slowly”, noting that the alleged abuse was incrementally built up so she was less aware of the negative behaviour.
When Did FKA twigs And Shia LaBeouf Date?
After the pair publicly split following it all coming to a head over Valentine’s Day in 2019, FKA twigs moved to sue LaBeouf for alleged abuse in late 2020, claiming that he subjected her to “relentless abuse” and was “unwilling to agree to get appropriate help”.
In a new interview with ELLE, FKA twigs said over that Valentine’s weekend she feared for her life when he started allegedly swerving into traffic in Los Angeles.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh no, if I crouch like that, and the front of the car crashes into my head, will it snap my neck?’”, she said.
“Do I jump out of the car at 80 miles an hour?”
FKA twigs Believes It Was “Luck” That Got Her Out
When asked how she got away from that relationship, FKA twigs said she puts it down to sheer luck.
“I think it’s luck,” she said.
“I honestly wish I could say that I found some strength and I saw this light. I wish I could say, ‘[It is] a testament to my strong character,’ or ‘It’s the way my mother raised me.’ It’s none of that. It’s pure luck that I’m not in that situation anymore.”
Though she was in a great place professionally at the time – she was finishing up her second album, Magdalene, had a home and was financially secure – her relationship with LaBeouf made her realise that abuse can happen to anyone at any time.
It doesn’t come down to wealth or intelligence; someone can wear you down so incrementally that you don’t realise it’s bad until it’s really bad and you’re suddenly in a car trying to figure out how you can survive a literal crash.
“What I went through with my abuser is, hands down, the worst thing in the whole of my life,” she said.
“Recovering has been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.”
LaBeouf Allegedly Used “Love-Bombing” As A Means Of Manipulation
According to FKA twigs’ allegations, LaBeouf was notorious with love-bombing – a tactic used by abusers to overwhelm their partners with demonstrations of affection and attention.
FKA twigs alleges that LaBeouf professed his love for her within weeks of them dating, and jumped fences to leave her flowers and love notes at her home in London.
“He would send me between 10 and 20 bunches of flowers a day for 10 days,” she said, recalling an instance when they had hit a rough patch further into their short-lived relationship.
“Every time I would sit down to work or watch something, the doorbell would ring, and it would be another three bunches of flowers.
“It was a bit too much. It felt uncomfortable. I look back now, and it feels like really aggressive love.”
View this post on Instagram
FKA twigs’ Move To L.A. Escalated LaBeouf’s Alleged Behaviour
Once she had moved from her home in London to live with LaBeouf in Los Angeles, that was when the alleged abuse and controlling behaviour escalated. FKA twigs alleged that she had to fulfil a daily quota of touching and kissing LaBeouf, which would result in verbal abuse that lasted well into the night if he was not
She also alleged that he would wake her up during the night accusing her of masturbating, withholding her body from him sexually, and plotting to leave him. FKA twigs said that he would often compare her to his previous partners, threaten to break up with her, demand she always sleeps naked, and would make her watch true crime documentaries focusing on gendered violence before bed.
“I would say to him, ‘I really don’t want to watch stuff like this before I go to bed. I’m sensitive, it affects me,’” she said.
“It was so dark, and I was just like, ‘I can’t be totally immersed in this all the time.’ I was very intimidated living with him. He had a gun by the side of the bed and was erratic.”
LaBeouf Was Allegedly Jealous Of Her Friendships
She also claimed there were instances where LaBeouf would get jealous about her having laughing with friends and would pick arguments about her having fun without him.
“One time, he heard me laughing on FaceTime with my friend,” she said.
“He came in and had a massive argument with me because he said he doesn’t make me laugh like that. So then I had to hide laughing with my friends.
“It’s [about] isolation, so I don’t talk to my friends. He hated that I had an experience to myself [with] something that didn’t involve him, a memory that gave me joy.
FKA twigs believed this created energy of shame within her and found she drew away from her friends and support network when she needed them the most.
“He made me feel like I wasn’t allowed joy, basically,” she said.
“That’s what it boils down to: I wasn’t allowed joy unless it directly revolved around him.”
What Was In The Lawsuit?
FKA Twigs sued LaBeouf in December 2020, accusing the actor of sexual battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence.
As reported by the New York Times, the lawsuit detailed the Valentines weekend incident as the main evidence of LaBeouf’s behaviour, as well as alleging that he knowing gave FKA twigs a sexually transmitted infection, would squeeze her arms until they bruised, and uses his personality of a “free-thinking artist” as a reason for his behaviour.
FKA twigs sued Shia LaBeouf for damages, as well as the cost of the suit and a trial by jury.
You can read the full lawsuit here.
What Has Shia LaBeouf Said About The Allegations?
After the lawsuit was handed down, Shia LaBeouf released a statement to the NY Times, saying that he has “no excuses” for his aggression or alcoholism and that he has a history of hurting the people closest to him.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said.
“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 followed this by saying that many of the allegations from other women who have also come forward are not true, but that he owed these women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.”
“I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism,” he said
“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.”
On February 5, 2021, LaBeouf and his lawyers released an official statement to the lawsuit, denying “each and every” allegation made by FKA twigs.
The statement also claims that FKA twigs “has not suffered any injury of damage as a result of [his] actions”, and believes she is not entitled to any damages or relief.
Help is available.
If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.
If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800RESPECT hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.