LOS ANGELES — Singer FKA twigs filed a lawsuit Friday alleging that Shia LaBeouf was physically and emotionally abusive during their relationship from 2018 to 2019, saying her experience was part of a pattern of terrorizing women for the 34-year-old actor.
“Shia LaBeouf hurts women,” the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court said in its opening lines. “He uses them. He abuses them, both physically and mentally. He is dangerous.”
FKA twigs — a 32-year-old British singer and actress whose legal name is Tahliah Barnett — alleges in the lawsuit that LaBeouf left her in a constant state of fear and humiliation, once slammed her into a car, tried to strangle her and knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
An email sent to a representative seeking comment from LaBeouf was not immediately returned, but in an email to The New York Times the actor 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.”
The two met and became a couple after Barnett was cast in “Honey Boy,” an autobiographical film about LaBeouf's upbringing as a child actor that portrayed his father as abusive but loving. Barnett had a supporting role alongside LaBeouf.
After what the lawsuit described as an early “charm offensive,” LaBeouf convinced Barnett to move in with him, leading to what the lawsuit characterized as a “living nightmare.”
LaBeouf isolated FKA twigs from family and friends, demanding absolute fealty, and constant verbal abuse led to several physical attacks on her, the lawsuit claimed.
He was ferociously jealous of everyone from waiters she was polite with to her ex-fiance, actor Robert Pattinson, the lawsuit alleged.
On a Valentine’s Day getaway in 2019, FKA twigs awoke to LaBeouf choking her and she was paralyzed with fear, the lawsuit said. He later drove wildly and threatened to crash his car if she didn’t profess eternal love for him and she feared for her life, the lawsuit claimed.
When she tried to get out of the car and get away from her at a gas station, he slammed her against the car, tried to strangle her, and forced her to get back in, the lawsuit said.
When she was attempting to end the relationship and leave him the following month, he violently grabbed her and lifted her off the ground as she was attempting to depart, according to a housekeeper who witnessed the incident and was cited in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleged that LaBeouf knowingly gave her an unspecified sexually transmitted disease that he went to great lengths to hide from her for much of their relationship, including his use of makeup.
LaBeouf kept guns in the house where they were living and he sometimes slept with them, putting Barnett in a constant state of fear," the lawsuit said.
She made several attempts to leave him that he resisted, but he later ended the relationship himself, the lawsuit said.
Karolyn Pho, a stylist who LaBeouf dated in 2010 and 2011, said in the lawsuit that she received similar treatment from LaBeouf — including constant threats and humiliation that sometimes escalated to physical violence.
The lawsuit said Pho allied herself with Barnett in an attempt to protect women from LaBeouf, although Pho is not listed as a plaintiff.
LaBeouf told The New York Times that many allegations in the lawsuit and from other women who spoke about him with the newspaper for its report “are not true” but added that he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.” He did not tell the newspaper which allegations he contests.
LaBeouf said he is in recovery and therapy over alcoholism and PTSD, saying he "will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”
LaBeouf is known for his intensity as an actor, and sometimes self-lacerating public performances.
He first gained fame as a teenager on the Disney Channel show “Even Stevens,” and is best known for his roles in 2007's “Transformers” and in 2008's “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull."
He has had several run-ins with the law during his career, including a 2017 New York City arrest for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct that was captured on a livestreamed video. He was sent to court-mandated rehabilitation.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to be determined at trial. Barnett said in the lawsuit that she will donate a significant part of any money received to a charity for abused women.
“This action has been brought not for personal gain, but to set the record straight, and to help ensure that no more women undergo the abuse that Shia LaBeouf has inflicted on his previous romantic partners," the lawsuit said.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press