Inside The Abuse Allegations Against Shia LaBeouf

In December 2020, The New York Times revealed that Hollywood actor Shia LaBeouf was being sued by former girlfriend FKA Twigs (real name Tahliah Barnett), who accused him of "relentless abuse" in a Los Angeles court filing. The singer-songwriter entered into an allegedly "tumultuous relationship" with LaBeouf after they worked on a film together, the documents state. He's accused of using a "charm offensive" on the Brit, lulling her into a false sense of security. "LaBeouf was engaging in grooming, gradually gaining Tahliah's trust and confidence with the intent of abusing her," Twigs' attorneys claimed. "What followed was a living nightmare for Tahliah."

It was Twigs that got the ball rolling, but she isn't the only person to come forward about LaBeouf's alleged behavior. She collaborated with another one of the actor's former girlfriends on the lawsuit, and others have come out with troubling accounts of their own since the story broke. The actor insisted that "many of these allegations are not true" in an email response to The New York Times, but added that the women involved deserved "the opportunity to air their statements publicly" and that he would "accept accountability for those things I have done." 

What is the former Transformers star being accused of, exactly? Let's go inside the abuse allegations against Shia LaBeouf.

Shia LaBeouf reportedly choked FKA Twigs during a terrifying Valentine's Day getaway

FKA Twigs became romantically involved with Shia LaBeouf shortly after filming on the movie Honey Boy (a semi-autobiographical feature written by LaBeouf during a stint in rehab) wrapped in Los Angeles in 2018 — but the honeymoon period was apparently short lived. The film debuted to near-unanimous critical acclaim toward the end of 2019, with both LaBeouf and Twigs earning plaudits for their turns in the coming-of-age drama. However, when they went on a Valentine's Day spa retreat earlier that year, according to Twigs, it was far from the romantic getaway she had been promised.

In the lawsuit against LaBeouf (obtained by The New York Times), Twigs' attorneys claimed that she was "subjected to a torrent of physical abuse" by her then-boyfriend, including a particular incident during the night. The court papers allege that the singer-songwriter woke up when LaBeouf began "violently squeezing" her, and things reportedly escalated from there. The actor is said to have grabbed her by the arms before moving his hands to her throat and "strangling" her. LaBeouf reportedly whispered to a "terrified" Twigs: "If you don't stop you are going to lose me." The "Pendulum" singer was "frozen" with fright and unable to move a muscle, the legal docs say.

Shia LaBeouf allegedly threatened to crash his car with FKA Twigs in it

The morning after the alleged Valentine's Day choking incident was apparently just as traumatic for FKA Twigs. Her lawsuit claimed that after she was assaulted by Shia LaBeouf during the night, she woke to find her partner in an equally violent mood. The Gloucestershire-born musician and actress alleged that LaBeouf pushed her to the ground outside the hotel, and he's said to have become totally unhinged on the ride home. 

The court papers state that "LaBeouf drove maniacally, removing his seat belt and threatening to crash the car unless Tahliah professed her eternal love for him." The violence reportedly continued when the couple stopped at a gas station on the way back to LaBeouf's home. When Twigs grabbed her bags and exited the car, the angry actor allegedly "attempted to strangle her violently while screaming in her face," her attorneys said. The incident reportedly took place in front of three male witnesses, who stood by and did nothing. 

When Twigs tried to confide in a colleague about what happened, she apparently wasn't taken seriously, and that left her feeling utterly hopeless. "I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me," she told The New York Times. "I'm unconventional. And I'm a person of color who is a female."

Honey Boy's director stood in solidarity with FKA Twigs

When FKA Twigs' allegations of abuse against Honey Boy co-star Shia LaBeouf were made public, the director of the hit film wasted little time in picking a side. Israeli-American filmmaker Alma Har'el had in the past been a vocal supporter of LaBeouf, sticking up for the actor as he struggled with addiction and the law. She believed that writing and starring in Honey Boy had been a cathartic experience for the troubled star, but she couldn't defend his alleged actions this time. 

In a statement she put out through Variety, Har'el revealed that she was devastated when she found out what Twigs had reportedly been through. "I have a deep respect for FKA Twigs' courage and resilience," Har'el said. "Reading what she endured left me heartbroken and I stand with her in solidarity ... Like many of Shia's collaborators and fans who battled substance abuse, suffered childhood trauma, and face mental illness, I am painfully aware of my past investment in his recovery. I want to send a clear message today that none of the above should excuse, minimize, or rationalize domestic violence." 

The director added that she would be donating to various domestic abuse charities.

Did Shia LaBeouf knowingly give FKA Twigs an STD?

Shia LaBeouf has been accused of abusing and tormenting FKA Twigs in a number of different ways in the latter's explosive lawsuit, but among the most horrifying claims was that the actor knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease. Twigs started to experience "unusual and painful physical symptoms" after becoming intimate with LaBeouf, the court papers alleged, and when she asked him about it, he apparently admitted that he had indeed been diagnosed with an STD. The actor reportedly used makeup to hide the symptoms after he experienced a flare-up around the holidays in 2019. "LaBeouf continued to engage in sexual relations with Tahliah, further exposing her to his disease," her attorneys said.

Twigs sought medical help after her partner's shocking revelation, and she was "confirmed" to have caught the STD in question. She would come to learn that she wasn't the first — after reaching out to his former partners, the British singer discovered that LaBeouf had reportedly "engaged in similar attempts to hide his condition" from another woman, per the court papers. 

According to Twigs' legal team, LaBeouf's own lawyers "cruelly dismissed" her when she brought up the whole sexually transmitted disease thing, telling her that it's "not that bad."

Shia LaBeouf is an alleged dog killer, according to FKA Twigs

Shia LaBeouf has always relied on method acting to get to where he needs to be for a role, for better or worse. In this alleged instance, it was most definitely for the worse. Plenty of actors have gone to extreme lengths while preparing for a movie in this fashion, but if what FKA Twigs had to say about LaBeouf's so-called prep in her lawsuit is accurate, then he's on another level entirely. 

According to the court filing, the actor callously shot dead multiple stray dogs in the Los Angeles area as he attempted to get into the "mindset" of a killer for his 2020 movie The Tax Collector, which was a critical misfire. Twigs, a dog lover who has her own pooch at home, was "profoundly disturbed and terrified" by her then-boyfriend's dark admission.

It wasn't just LaBeouf's alleged "wanton animal cruelty" that scared Twigs, however. It was the fact that he had apparently a gun on him at all times. The actor reportedly boasted about a time he pulled a firearm on set and would rarely be without one, even at night. "This has been hugely traumatizing for Twigs," a friend of the singer-songwriter told Page Six in December 2020. "Shia having a gun by the side of the bed and her fearing to go to the bathroom at night — it's a primal fear to be stuck feeling helpless in the dark."

Shia LaBeouf reportedly 'headbutted' fashion designer Karolyn Pho

Before he started dating FKA Twigs, Shia LaBeouf was reportedly in an equally volatile relationship with fashion designer Karolyn Pho, the lawsuit against the actor claimed. Twigs contacted Pho when she was preparing to take legal action against LaBeouf, and she agreed to take part when she discovered that they had been through similar ordeals. "Karolyn has bravely chosen to ally with Tahliah against LaBeouf in order to protect women from ever again having to endure LaBeouf's abuse," Twigs' attorneys said. 

Pho, who was with LaBeouf between 2010 and 2011, claimed that she had been subjected to emotional and physical abuse by the Hollywood star during the course of their short relationship. In the lawsuit, she recalled LaBeouf coming back to their hotel room drunk one night, mumbling "incoherently" as he collapsed on the couch. After she helped him to the shower and made sure that he "was no longer in danger, Karolyn returned to bed" — only to be woken by what the lawsuit referred to as a "drunk, naked, wet, and screaming" LaBeouf. 

Pho alleged that LaBeouf was lying "on top of her," while "[holding] her down by her arms." In the court docs, Pho alleged LaBeouf "then headbutted her violently, causing her to bleed on the hotel bed."

Sia claims that Shia LaBeouf tricked her into an 'adulterous relationship'

Shia LaBeouf starred in Sia's music video for "Elastic Heart", which caused a big stir when it dropped back in 2015. LaBeouf performs an intimate dance routine with a then-12-year-old Maddie Ziegler in the video, and many were of the opinion that it should have come with a trigger warning. "The new Sia video is all kinds of terrifying when you have grooming/abuse in your past," one Twitter user said. With the backlash mounting, Sia issued an apology, telling her followers that LaBeouf and Ziegler were supposed to represent two "warring" versions of herself. Her relationship with the actor would become physical, but she says it was based on a lie.

When FKA Twigs came out with her allegations of abuse against LaBeouf, Sia took to Twitter with a story of her own. According to the "Chandelier" singer, she became romantically involved with LaBeouf after he knowingly misled her about his availability. "I too have been hurt emotionally by Shia, a pathological liar, who conned me into an adulterous relationship claiming to be single," she tweeted. "I believe he's very sick and have compassion for him AND his victims. Just know, if you love yourself — stay safe, stay away." She went on to commend Twigs for coming forward, calling her actions "very courageous" in a follow-up tweet. "I'm very proud of you," she added. Twigs thanked Sia for her "love and solidarity" in a reply.

Shia LaBeouf was reportedly 'aggressive towards girls' growing up

Another woman who felt inspired to come forward about her own allegations against Shia LaBeouf, singer-songwriter Katy Rose had her Twitter followers in shock when she claimed the A-lister sexually assaulted her at a Hollywood party. "I grew up with Shia LaBeouf in Los Angeles," she began, tagging FKA Twigs in the tweet. "We were the same age, ran in the same circles, and were working kids in the entertainment business at the same time. When I was 14, he groped me violently at a party in the Hollywood Hills. He has always been revolting." She went on to thank both Twigs and Sia for coming forward with their accusations about LaBeouf in a follow-up tweet, adding, "He is a bad guy."

When the New York Post reached out to Rose, she alleged LaBeouf had actually assaulted her more than once. "Shia was always aggressive towards girls, myself included, while we were growing up in Hollywood," the musician, who now lives in Paris, alleged to Page Six. "He did grope me at a party when I was 14... multiple times, on different occasions." According to Rose, LaBeouf "was always a scary guy" to be around, even way back then. "I felt very threatened by him," she added.

Shia LaBeouf talked about killing Mia Goth in a chilling video

English actress and model Mia Goth reportedly discussed joining the court battle against Shia LaBeouf at one stage, but she wasn't quite ready to give up on him, sources suggest. "Mia initially had conversations," an insider with knowledge of the lawsuit claimed to Page Six. "She then got back with Shia. They're entwined in a way that none of us can understand." Goth met LaBeouf on the set of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Vol. II in 2012 and they got hitched in Las Vegas that same year (though they "never filed their marriage license," Nevada officials told People). Three years later, LaBeouf was filmed threatening Goth during an explosive argument in Germany.

In the video (obtained by Entertainment Tonight), the actor can be heard saying, "I don't want to touch you, I don't want to be aggressive... This is the kind of thing that makes a person abusive." When Goth got into a taxi and left, LaBeouf began speaking to the men recording the whole thing. "I don't want to touch a woman, I don't want to hit a woman, but I'm getting pushed," he told the locals as they drove him to the airport. "If I'd have stayed there, I would have killed her." LaBeouf and Goth appeared to briefly rekindle their romance in early 2020, when, as People reported, they were spotted out and about together with wedding rings on full display.

Shia LaBeouf reportedly threatened Karolyn Pho's life, too

According to the lawsuit brought against Shia LaBeouf by FKA Twigs and Karolyn Pho, the actor allegedly repeatedly threatened the fashion designer's life after a party in 2011. LaBeouf reportedly got into a drunken state at the Chateau Marmont shindig, and things are said to have turned nasty on the cab ride home. The court papers allege that the Hollywood star "berated and verbally assaulted Karolyn in front of the driver, and repeatedly whispered to Karolyn, 'You know I'm going to kill you.'" When he woke the following day, LaBeouf apparently claimed that he had "blacked out" and didn't remember a thing.

The suit also alleged that LaBeouf used to get angry when Pho spoke to other men. "LaBeouf would berate Karolyn for something as innocuous as 'looking' at the male waiting staff at a restaurant," the suit stated, adding that he would "furiously claim that Karolyn was attracted to any male, other than himself, that she happened to be 'looking' at." According to the court filing, this was a constant source of conflict between the two. The papers also alleged LaBeouf emailed Pho to smear Twigs when he found out about the case against him, but his apparent attempts to stop them joining forces failed.

Shia LaBeouf locked FKA Twigs in a room according to her housekeeper

Ten days the alleged Valentine's Day incident referenced in the lawsuit, FKA Twigs sent an email to a therapist, asking for help. "I have just left an emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive relationship," she wrote, per the lawsuit. "I have one day out and very confused and overwhelmed... am writing this email because I am hoping that by seeking professional help I can stay out of it and carry on with my life." With the help of that therapist, she was "planning to escape from [Shia] LaBeouf when the opportunity arose," but LaBeouf's behavior was apparently so controlling that ditching him wasn't that simple. On the day she planned to leave Los Angeles behind, "LaBeouf showed up unannounced at the rented home where she was staying."

"LaBeouf yelled at [Twigs] that she had to come with him," the singer's housekeeper, who was there to help her out with moving out, testified. "[LaBeouf] then violently grabbed [Twigs] and lifted her off the ground." According to the housekeeper, the raging actor carried Twigs into a nearby room and locked the door behind him. "He yelled so loudly that I could hear him from outside the room," she said. "Eventually, I observed [LaBeouf] open the door and exit the room... I quickly went to [Twigs'] side to see how she was doing. I observed that [she] was in a very traumatized state. She appeared to have been crying and her voice was very weak."

Shia LaBeouf admitted that he's been abusive for years

When it comes to domestic abuse, leaving isn't always so easy. Speaking about the allegations to The New York Times, FKA Twigs said Shia LaBeouf broke her will and left her feeling dependent, noting that "it took several attempts" before she would "extricate herself" from the situation entirely. "The whole time I was with him, I could have bought myself a business-flight plane ticket back to my four-story townhouse in Hackney," Twigs said. "He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible."

She ultimately worked up the courage to get out, and she took another brave step when she opened up to The New York Times. LaBeouf got in touch with the newspaper after it published details of the abuse lawsuit against him, apologizing for his actions. "I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations," he said in an email. "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 actor said that he was taking steps to deal with PTSD and alcoholism, but he now looks set to remain a pariah figure in Hollywood for years to come.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at