FKA Twigs is proud of herself for the resilience she displayed in navigating her alleged experience of domestic abuse, she says.
In an interview with British GQ published Monday, Twigs (born Tahliah Debrett Barnett) reflected on the period of her life prior to accusing ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf of intimate partner violence. The Grammy-nominated singer brought a lawsuit against the actor in December 2020.
“One of the greatest achievements of the whole of my life was keeping (myself) together. It was one of the things that I’m most proud of, that I was able to go on tour and do interviews and stay graceful and keep that calmness,” Twigs recalled. “I don’t even know if it’s right or wrong that I was able to do that.
“I look at that as a testament to my upbringing and a testament to how much I love my art and a testament to how much I want to show up for people that sometimes bought tickets to my gig because it was so difficult.”
‘I felt so controlled’:FKA twigs details physical, emotional abuse claims against Shia LaBeouf
‘I have my life back’:FKA twigs on moving forward following Shia LaBeouf abuse lawsuit
Twigs and LaBeouf dated in 2018 and 2019 after meeting on the film “Honey Boy,” which was inspired by LaBeouf’s childhood and relationship with his father. He wrote and starred in the film.
Twigs’ lawsuit asserted LaBeouf knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease and also accused him of “relentless abuse,” including sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress.
Twigs says her life became a “living nightmare” after she entered a relationship with LaBeouf, according to the lawsuit. She asserted LaBeouf groomed her, “gradually gaining her trust but with the intent of abusing her.” Later, he is allegedly engaged in a “continuous stream” of verbal and mental abuse, “belittling” and “berating” her, which soon turned physical and “increasingly violent.”
“I felt so controlled, and I felt so confused and I felt so low, beneath myself that the fear of even leaving and knowing I had all this work to do to get back to just feeling OK, it was completely overwhelming,” said Twigs on a January 2021 episode of the podcast “Grounded with Louis Theroux.”
LaBeouf responded to the claims in an email to The New York Times, saying he was “not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel.” His legal team submitted a response to Twigs’ lawsuit in February 2021 denying the assault claims.
“I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” wrote LaBeouf at the time. “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. There is nothing else I can really say.”
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Twigs said speaking out was important not only for her own healing, but to also give solace to other survivors of domestic violence.
“I just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt, and that trumped any way that I felt about what people may think about me now, positively or negatively,” Twigs said.
The British songstress told Elle in February 2021 that while she knows recovery is “not going to be perfect,” she hopes her journey of “taking (her) life back” can inspire others.
“I’ve given back his dysfunction now,” said Twigs of LaBeouf. “I went on my whole ‘Magdalene’ tour holding that dysfunction — it was with me onstage, every time I did an interview, on every red carpet. I was not enjoying any of it. Because I was still holding it. But now I’ve given it back. Now he gets to hold it. And everyone knows what he’s done.”
Calling out the abuse she allegedly experienced was also crucial for the legacy Twigs wants to leave behind, she told British GQ.
“If I ever have children, I want them to know that I stood up for myself, and that’s important,” Twigs said. “And sometimes, standing up for yourself is messy. Sometimes it can cause more trauma, and sometimes it can be dividing. People don’t expect you to stand up for yourself, but I did and I’m proud of it, and what happened to me wasn’t right.”
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Sara M Moniuszko