The tragic story of Shia LaBeouf's parents

Shia LaBeouf has had a pretty successful acting career ever since his preteen years. At the age of 10, he already was landing gigs at comedy clubs and doing stand-up acts that were full of profanity and dirty insults. In a 2009 interview with Parade, Shia explained, "I'd get up there and go, 'Hey, m—f—! It's time for some jokes.' And all the drunks would be like, 'Hey, wait a minute. This is weird as hell! What's this 10-year-old talking about?'"

That "weird" didn't stop there — it actually propelled his career even further into TV and movie roles, as well as into some intriguing performance art. But where does a kid get that kind of drive and inspiration? For Shia, it was his mother and father. Though complicated, the actor-turned-performance-artist credited his own artwork to his parents, who separated when he was 3 years old.

"My dad and my mom were both artists who never found an audience for their artwork. And so I lived in poverty. Now that I'm not poor, I know that is what it was," he told Parade. "I look back at that stuff and I'm grateful. It's like scars. You become proud of them."

Shia LaBeouf says his dad pointed a gun at him

Depending on which side of the internet you're on, you either see Shia LaBeouf as a performance artist genius or another child star who lost his mind a little. Either way, it's possible a lot of that sentiment was derived from Shia's childhood, which he described as "anything by fun," per The Orange County Register.

In a 2007 interview with the publication, the Disturbia star recounted his father Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf — who was addicted to heroin and alcohol — pointing a gun at him while having a Vietnam War PTSD flashback. Jeffrey introduced his son to marijuana and cigarettes at 10 years old, and at some level, knew he wasn't the definition of fatherhood.

"When you're 10-years-old and watch your father going through heroin withdrawals, you grow up real fast. You become the parent in the relationship," Shia said. "But I must give him credit because he always told me that he didn't want me to be like him." He chronicled those early acting years with Jeffrey in his 2019 film Honey Boy, where he played a character loosely based off of his own father.

Despite the seemingly difficult times, the actor told Esquire in a 2018 interview that his experiences weren't "scarring." "My dad handed me a lot, and his legacy was an emotional one. And it wasn't scarring," Shia said. "He handed me texture. My dad blessed me that way."

Shia LaBeouf heard his mother being assaulted

While Shia LaBeouf's mother had a limited presence in his fictional Honey Boy world, she's the reason the movie is set in the motel (Spoiler alert!). Esquire reported that Shayna Saide LaBeouf, a visual artist and jewelry maker, didn't want her son to act. She actually wanted him to pursue a doctoral degree. However, she didn't stop him from working toward his dream, so she let Shia and his father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, go live in a motel near the studio where Shia recorded the hit Disney show Even Stevens.

The California-based family faced its share of uphill battles over the years, especially Shia's relationship with his mother. While living in an apartment in Tujunga, when Jeffrey was in a rehabilitation center, Shia overheard his mother being raped when he was just 9 years old, per Refinery29.

"I froze," Shia told Esquire, recalling the aftermath. "The man ran out, and my mom ran after him. Dave [a neighbor] came running over. I remember he had a crossbow." Shia said he was later diagnosed with PTSD stemming from the incident after going to rehab in 2017 for his own drug and alcoholism struggles. The rapist was never caught.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org for additional resources.

The LaBeouf family is using art to move past its personal struggles

Despite the many trials and tribulations of this artist family, these three have all found some sort of healing through the years. After a number of controversial circumstances – including DUIs, drunken outbursts, and plagiarism accusations – Shia LaBeouf found healing through rehabilitation, and he's even in a better place with his father following the filming of Honey Boy.

"He knows that I really see him from the inside," Shia told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast in 2019. "I think all my dad ever wanted was for nobody to be upset with him. Now he feels like he's given me a legacy.

As of this writing, Shayna Saide LaBeouf is actively creating art that she aspires to be "a witness to the sacred and the sublime" through the guise of sculpture bags, wall art, and jewelry. "I find great pleasure in restoring found objects and giving them a new life. Through my art," explained her artist statement on her website, "life's own vibrations come to animate them again, breathing a renewed power into them as they resonate to the inner chords of mystical music."

Thankfully, it sounds like the LaBeouf family is in a much better place these days.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).