"I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years," Shia LaBeouf told the New York Times. "I have a history of hurting the people closest to me"

By Tomás Mier and Jeff Nelson
December 11, 2020 03:05 PM
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FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, accusing him of "relentless abuse," according to documents obtained by PEOPLE.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and first obtained by The New York Times, alleges that the actor, 34, sexually and physically assaulted and battered the singer, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, and knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease. The 32-year-old also described several instances of physical abuse in the documents.

"What I went through with Shia was the worst thing I've ever been through in the whole of my life," she said in an interview with The Times. "I don't think people would ever think that it would happen to me. But I think that's the thing. It can happen to anybody."

FKA twigs and Shia LaBeouf
| Credit: Joe Maher/Getty; JC Olivera/WireImage

Barnett claimed that LeBeouf would squeeze her arm to "the point of bruising" and didn't go to police at first to not harm his career and because she "thought her account would not be taken seriously."

The "cellophane" singer alleged in the documents that he would not allow her to wear clothes to bed and would turn small disagreements into nightlong fights. She said he had an armed gun by his bedside that made her afraid to get up to use the restroom at night for fear that he'd shoot her thinking she was an intruder, the complaint alleged.

She also described an incident when the Transformers actor threw her against his car at a gas station and berated her publicly.

Shia LaBeouf
| Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

"I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me," she told The Times. "I'm unconventional. And I'm a person of color who is a female."

She decided to leave him in spring 2019 with the help of a therapist after being together for more than a year. When she tried to move out of the house, he "violently" grabbed her, picked her up and locked her in a room where he yelled at her, the complaint alleged.

LaBeouf addressed the allegations in several emails to the newspaper, 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 different email, however, he said that "many" of the allegations were not true but explained he owed the women "the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done."

Reps for LaBeouf did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment, while Barnett's attorney Bryan Freedman tells PEOPLE, "Shia LaBeouf has abused Ms. Barnett, Ms. Pho and others. We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him."

FKA twigs
| Credit: Joe Maher/Getty

The Times interviewed Barnett and another former girlfriend of The Tax Collector actor, named Karolyn Pho. Both alleged instances of abuse and that LaBeouf did not like when they "looked at male waiters." Barnett said she learned to keep her eyes down when men spoke to her.

Meanwhile, Pho reportedly described a time when she started bleeding after he pinned her to a bed and head-butted her.

The "Sad Day" singer and LaBeouf started dating after she was cast in his film Honey Boy in 2018. At the time, he would show her "over-the-top displays of affection," Barnett said in the lawsuit.

She described living with the actor as "frightening."

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"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," she told the newspaper. "He brought me so low, below myself, that the idea of leaving him and having to work myself back up just seemed impossible."

LaBeouf also told the newspaper that he was in a 12-step program and in therapy.

"I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism," he wrote, "but I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way."

Barnett, a two-time Grammy nominee, plans to donate a significant portion of any monetary damages to charities dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence.

"I'd like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency," Barnett told The New York Times.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.