What We Know About FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf’s Legal Battle (2024)

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By Bindu Bansinath, a writer for the Cut who covers news, culture, and relationships. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Electric Literature. She was previously an assistant editor at Harper's.

What We Know About FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf’s Legal Battle (2)

Photo: Photo-illustration: the Cut

Four years after FKA Twigs filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf for alleged physical and sexual abuse, the case is finally headed to trial this fall. Twigs, legal name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, and LaBeouf started dating after meeting on the set of LaBeouf’s semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy in 2018 and broke up nine months later. In December 2020, Barnett filed a lawsuit accusing LaBeouf of “relentless abuse” spanning sexual battery, physical assault, and emotional distress. “What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I’ve ever been through in the whole of my life,” she told the New York Times in an interview after the filing, which included abuse allegations from another of LaBeouf’s exes.

After the suit was filed, LaBeouf offered a convoluted response.“I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” the actor wrote in a statement emailed to the Times in 2020. “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.” Not long after, he reversed course through his legal team, denying “generally and specifically, each and every allegation” in Barnett’s suit.

Now, as the October 14 trial date approaches, LaBeouf’s team is seeking Barnett’s private medical and financial records in an attempt to throw out her claims of emotional distress. Barnett “has alleged severe emotional distress, but she has been thriving emotionally and physically as she has been working on numerous projects and making millions,” read the June filing. “Contrary to what [Barnett] alleges, she appears to have increased her profile in the years after her relationship with Shia.” Barnett’s team, meanwhile, has denounced the efforts as an “invasion of privacy.”

Below is everything we know so far.

In her lawsuit, FKA Twigs says LaBeouf kept a loaded firearm next to their bed and made her watch documentaries about murdered women.

In her 2020 lawsuit, Barnett said LaBeouf’s “relentless abuse” began as verbal harassment and escalated into physical violence. Shortly after the two wrapped work on Honey Boy, Barnett said, LaBeouf convinced her to move in with him and gained her trust and confidence. Things quickly soured. According to the suit, LaBeouf belittled and berated Barnett over “the slightest perceived ‘insult’’’ and subjected her to a “continuous stream of verbal and mental abuse,” from blowing up at her for kissing men on the cheek in music videos and being polite to male waiters to raging at her for hours over disagreements about taste in art. According to the suit, LaBeouf counted the number of kisses Barnett would give him in a day and punished her if she fell short of a certain number. Barnett claims LaBeouf kept firearms throughout the house, including a loaded one next to the bed; in a “constant state of fear,” Barnett said, she was afraid to wake up and go to the bathroom at night in case LaBeouf mistook her for an intruder. She also alleged he made her sleep naked and demanded she join him to watch documentaries about murdered women.

Twigs and another ex-girlfriend accused LaBeouf of physical abuse.

Barnett said LaBeouf’s abuse turned physical on multiple occasions, leaving her with numerous injuries. A particularly egregious instance allegedly took place on a drive from the desert back to Los Angeles in 2019. Barnett said LaBeouf took off his seat belt, drove recklessly, and threatened to crash if she didn’t profess her love for him. At a gas station, Barnett said she begged to be let out but LaBeouf followed her as she took her bags out of the trunk beforeslammingher into the car and strangling her, eventually forcing her back inside. She also accused LaBeouf of failing to disclose that he had been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease years prior and knowingly passed it along to her.

Also in the suit, stylist Karolyn Pho, who dated LaBeouf in the early 2010s, shared her own story of alleged physical abuse at the hands of the actor, who she said once drunkenly pinned her down on a bed and headbutted her until she bled. Pho said LaBeouf attempted to stop the two women from making an alliance by sending her a falsely disparaging email about Barnett, who stated in the suit that she intends to “donate a significant portion” of any damages received to domestic-violence charities.

LaBeouf responded to the accusations with apologies and denials.

Shortly after Barnett filed her suit, LaBeouf was dropped by his talent agency, CAA, and replaced with Harry Styles in Olivia Wilde’s film Don’t Worry Darling. Denying rumors that he had been fired, he told Variety he’d quit over rehearsal time,and a source told People the actor was going on hiatus as he continued inpatient treatment. Meanwhile, in emailed statements to the New York Times, LaBeouf said many of the accusations the two women had made against him were “untrue” while noting that he owed them “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.” LaBeouf — who, prior to the suit, had been arrested several times for assault and disorderly conduct, charges that were eventually dropped — told the paper he was committed to recovering from his PTSD and alcoholism and “will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way.”

His attorneys took a different approach: In a legal response to the suit, obtained by People, they denied “generally and specifically, each and every allegation” Barnett and Pho had made. LaBeouf’s team also denied that Barnett — who said in her suit that she planned to donate a significant portion of any monetary damages she received to domestic-violence charities — sustained any injuries or loss at their client’s hands and further denied that she was “entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever.” LaBeouf’s lawyers asked the judge to dismiss Barnett’s sexual-battery claims and order her to pay LaBeouf for his legal fees and “further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.”

LaBeouf later admitted in a podcast interview that he had “hurt” Twigs.

In August 2022, LaBeouf alluded to Barnett’s lawsuit on Jon Bernthal’s Real Ones podcast. “I hurt that woman,” said LaBeouf, who did not explicitly name Barnett but spoke about her accusations.“In the process of doing that, I hurt many other people, and many other people before that woman.” LaBeouf called himself a “pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest, inconsiderate, fearful human being” and described Barnett as a “saint” who “saved my f*cking life,” adding, “Had she not intervened … and not created this avenue for me to experience ego death, I’d either have a really mediocre existence or I’d be dead in full.”

Most recently, lawyers for LaBeouf have said Twigs cannot be emotionally distressed because her career is “thriving.”

According to filings reviewed by Pitchfork, both parties agreed to trial postponements owing to scheduling conflicts with their “entertainment projects.” But in June, LaBeouf’s team filed a request for Barnett’s medical and financial records, arguing that she had been “too busy … to appear for her deposition” and that her accusations of emotional distress cannot be true because her career has been so successful.Barnett “has alleged severe emotional distress, but she has been thriving emotionally and physically as she has been working on numerous projects and making millions,” LaBeouf’s attorneys wrote in a filing obtained by Us Weekly, citing Barnett’s 2019 album, Magdalene; her January Calvin Klein modeling campaign; and her role in the forthcoming film The Crow. “Contrary to what [Barnett] alleges, she appears to have increased her profile in the years after her relationship with Shia.”

Twigs’s lawyers have condemned LaBeouf’s “improper” requests for her private records.

In June, lawyers for Barnett filed a motion slamming LaBeouf’s “overbroad and burdensome” requests for private medical and financial information that they say go “well beyond the injuries that are actually at issue.”According to filings obtained by People, Barnett’s lawyers argue that LaBeouf’s team is improperly seeking “the entirety” of her medical history despite her having already submitted to a psychotherapy exam and turned over 1,300 pages of documentation for the trial. Barnett’s team called the requests “a significant invasion” of her privacy.

“We are pleased the judge agreed with our position that many of LaBeouf’s requests were overly broad and inappropriate,” Barnett’s attorney said in an emailed statement to the Cut. “While my client was led to believe that LaBeouf was on a path of taking responsibility and working a program, it is clear he intends his pattern of continuing to abuse the victim. Any suggestion thatFKATwigs’ emotional distress should be discounted because of any career success is preposterous and discounts the idea that victims should have hope for the future. Logically, without the trauma that she has suffered I can only imagine the level of success she would have achieved by now.”

The Cut has reached out to representatives for LaBeouf. We will update this post when we hear back.

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  • fka twigs
  • shia labeouf
  • lawsuits
  • abuse allegations
  • power
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What We Know About FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf’s Legal Battle
What We Know About FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf’s Legal Battle (2024)

FAQs

What We Know About FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf’s Legal Battle? ›

In her lawsuit, FKA Twigs says LaBeouf kept a loaded firearm next to their bed and made her watch documentaries about murdered women. In her 2020 lawsuit, Barnett said LaBeouf's “relentless abuse” began as verbal harassment and escalated into physical violence.

How long did FKA Twigs and Shia LaBeouf date? ›

The couple dated for over a year and FKA Twigs later alleged that LaBeouf had sexually and physically assaulted her during their relationship. She later filed a lawsuit against him, accusing the actor of "relentless abuse." LaBeouf responded to the allegations in an email to The New York Times.

Are Mia and Shia still together? ›

2018: The pair file for divorce

In a statement to People, Shia confirmed that "[He] and Mia have filed for divorce. The separation is amicable and all details pertaining to the divorce proceedings will remain private."

Who does Shia LaBeouf have a kid with? ›

Shia LaBeouf and Mia Goth are seen in Hollywood on August 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Like their pregnancy, the Padre Pio actor and Goth didn't share an announcement for the birth of their daughter. Instead, the public learned of the birth when they were seen pushing a baby stroller together in April 2022.

When did Rihanna date Shia LaBeouf? ›

Shia LaBeouf

The Honey Boy actor revealed in 2009 that he went on a date with the “We Found Love” singer two years prior.

Who is the wife of Shia? ›

Personal life. Goth met American actor Shia LaBeouf while co-starring in Nymphomaniac in 2012. On 10 October 2016, Goth and LaBeouf appeared to get married in a Las Vegas ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator.

Who is Shia LaBeouf with now? ›

Shia LaBeouf
BornShia Saide LaBeouf June 11, 1986 Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationsActor performance artist filmmaker
Years active1996–present
PartnerMia Goth (2012–2018, 2020–present)
2 more rows

Who is Mia Goth currently married to? ›

Did Shia LaBeouf really get tattoos? ›

From the top of his chest to the bottom of his stomach, LaBeouf's skin is permanently inked with a number of tattoos morphed into one. At the top of his chest is a portrait of his mother and father. Towards his stomach, LaBeouf's “Tax Collector” character's name, Creeper, is imprinted in big bold letters.

Is Shia a father? ›

Shia LaBeouf Reveals He and Wife Mia Goth Are Parents to a Baby Girl, Shares Her Name. Georgia Slater is a staff editor on the Parents team at PEOPLE.

How rich is Shia LaBeouf? ›

Quick Facts
FACTDETAIL
Net Worth$25 million
Years Active1996–present
Source of WealthActing, Directing, Performance Art
Height5 ft 9 in (1.76 m)
16 more rows
Jul 4, 2024

Why did Shia LaBeouf leave Transformers? ›

Shia LeBeouf left the Transformers franchise because he felt the movies lacked purpose and were irrelevant compared to more grounded stories. The franchise has moved on from LeBeouf's departure and has found success with other actors and spinoff movies.

How long were FKA Twigs and Robert Pattinson together for? ›

Pattinson started dating Twigs in September 2014. They got engaged just seven months later but broke it off in 2017. A source told UK outlet The Sun of their breakup at the time, “They were almost inseparable for their first two years together.

How long did Matty and FKA Twigs date? ›

At the time, Healy showed his support for FKA Twigs by posting a photo of her on Instagram, calling her a "legend," "icon" and "loml" (for "love of my life") in an emoji-filled caption. After dating for almost three years, they split in early 2022.

Did Robert Pattinson propose to FKA Twigs? ›

April 2015: Robert Pattinson and FKA Twigs get engaged

On April 1, 2015, Vulture published a Q&A with T-Pain.

How long did Mia Goth and Shia LaBeouf date? ›

After four years together in September 2018, a rep told People magazine that they'd filed for divorce. “The separation is amicable and all details pertaining to the divorce proceedings will remain private,” the rep said in a statement. In 2021, Goth and LaBeouf seemed to reconcile during the pandemic.

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