Trigger warning: This article contains references to domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers.
Shia LaBeouf has denied allegations made by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs of “relentless physical and mental abuse” during their year-long relationship.
The British musician, real name Tahliah Barnett, filed a lawsuit against the Honey Boy actor in December 2020, claiming he was sexually and physically abusive, alleging LaBeouf knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease and once threatened her life by removing her seatbelt while he drove recklessly while on a trip to the desert outside of Los Angeles.
In response to the singer’s suit, LaBeouf’s legal team states that he “denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation contained in [Barnett]’s Complaint, denies that [Barnett] has sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission on the part of [LaBeouf], and denies that [Barnett] is entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever”, per People.
According to The Guardian, Twigs’ lawsuit sought “unspecified damages for alleged sexual battery, assault and emotional distress” with LaBeouf now asking for the singer to be ordered to pay for his legal costs and “further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”
Back in December, Twigs spoke out about her experience and the lawsuit to The New York Times, calling the relationship with LaBeouf and corresponding abuse “the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life”, and saying that she’s speaking out because she’d “like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency.”
At the time LaBeouf responded to the detailed allegations in an email to the Times, saying that “many of these allegations are not true”. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel,” he said. “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. There is nothing else I can really say.”
Twigs’ claims were supported by another of LaBeouf’s ex-girlfriends, Karolyn Pho, who also made allegations of abuse to the Times.
Pho, who dated the actor from 2010 to 2011, alleged she was “subjected to the same kind of abuse, including physical abuse, he inflicted on Tahliah, fuelled by his jealous, impulsive, and irrational ways.”
In January 2021, Twigs further detailed her experiences with the 34-year-old actor while appearing on journalist Louis Theroux’s podcast Grounded, where she outlined the alleged abusive moments she endured in the relationship and how she has suffered from panic attacks and PTSD since.
“For a long time anything that woke me up in the night, even if it was just my dog, or a noise outside, or just needing to go to the bathroom, it could trigger a really intense panic attack,” she said.
“I was left with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] from that, which again is just something that I don’t think we really talk about as a society just in terms of the healing when leaving, and how much work that has to be done to recover, to get back to the person that you were before.”
And while Twigs is working on facing the trauma that resulted from the relationship, she’s said coming forward has helped her face what happened.
“All I can do is just think about myself when I’m 50 years old [and] I’ve got kids, I think about what I want to have stood for,” she shared.
“This is something that was completely unexpected. I never thought anything like this would happen to me… when I’m older, if I have a daughter, I want to be able to say, ‘This thing happened to me. And I dealt with it.’ It’s a big thing to heal publicly and have to do it in front of everyone, but I can do it. I’m a big girl and I can do it.”
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