FKA Twigs Recalls 'Massive Wake-Up Call' in Allegedly Abusive Relationship with Shia LaBeouf
FKA twigs is recounting her experiences with domestic abuse.
Just over one month after filing a lawsuit against ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of "relentless abuse," the "cellophane" singer, 33, opened up to the Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast about coming out of the relationship and how she has processed the events.
The singer, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, alleged that LaBeouf, 34, sexually and physically assaulted and battered her, and knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease. She also described several instances of physical abuse in the lawsuit previously obtained by PEOPLE.
In the podcast interview, Barnett recalls a turning point when she realized she needed to leave the relationship: an incident when the Transformers actor allegedly threw her against his car at a gas station and "basically strangling" her in front of bystanders.
"Nobody did anything. That was a really low moment for me because I felt like I would never be believed," she said. "... Nobody stepped in. For me, that was a real moment of like, 'Okay, no one is going to believe me, because I'm the type of person if I saw something happening, I will go and help somebody, that's just who I am."
"But to have people see me being treated in that way and not do anything — I felt really disheartened," added Barnett. "I remember going back to where I was staying and calling an abused women's helpline ... and her reaction to me was so serious, and she was like, 'Okay, from what you've said it feels to me like you're in an unsafe place. Does your abuser know where you are? Can you get to a safe place? Who have you told about this? Is there somewhere else that you can stay?' "
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Barnett said the call was procedural and "very black-and-white" and similar to calling a paramedic for a medical emergency. Having a stranger take her seriously helped her feel seen enough to come forward, she said.
"It felt really like, 'Whoa, somebody that I don't even know, that doesn't even know that I'm a singer or anything like that' — somebody is taking this so seriously and wants to get me somewhere safe. That was a really massive wake-up call."
"That's the time when I realized," she continued, "I need a lot of help to get out of this. And that's when I started messaging, I messaged my best friend and I said, 'I'm in a really abusive relationship, and it's really bad.' I got a therapist who I started seeing twice a week."
Barnett said a few months after she began that "process," she was "able to leave, and leave for good."
First speaking out about the alleged abuse, Barnett told The New York Times last month that "what I went through with Shia was the worst thing I've ever been through in the whole of my life." LaBeouf then addressed the allegations in several emails to the newspaper at the time, saying he was in no position "to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel."
"I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years," he wrote to The Times. " 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."
In a separate email, however, he said "many" of the allegations were not true.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.