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FKA twigs claims Shia LaBeouf banned her from looking at other men and gave her a ‘quota’ for kisses

Artist was interviewed by Louis Theroux on his Grounded podcast, where she explained why she decided to speak about her experience

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 25 January 2021 15:21
FKA twigs discusses alleged abuse during relationship with Shia LaBeouf
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FKA twigs has disclosed further details of the abuse she alleges she suffered while in a relationship with actor Shia LaBeouf.

The British musician and actor, 33, filed a lawsuit against LaBeouf in December last year, accusing him of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit states that twigs met LaBeouf in 2018 when she was cast in his film Honey Boy, and that their relationship began after filming was completed.

Appearing in a new episode of Louis Theroux’s BBC podcast, Grounded, twigs – born Tahliah Barnett – has now claimed that LaBeouf banned her from looking other men in the eye, and gave her a “quota” for the number of kisses and touches she gave him per day.

“Being nice to a waiter, or being polite to somebody [could be] seen as me flirting or wanting to engage in some sort of relationship with somebody else, when I’m literally just ordering pasta or being polite,” she said.

Twigs claimed that LaBeouf forbade her from looking other men in the eye: “I was told I knew what he was like, and if I loved him I wouldn’t look men in the eye, and that was my reality for a good four months towards the end of the relationship.”

She said the result of looking down all the time and worrying about people being nice to her while she was with LaBeouf led to her feeling isolated and stressed: “Any pleasant interaction could result in a three-day event of me being berated and kept awake.”

Prompted by Theroux about one of the details in the lawsuit, twigs alleged that LaBeouf would count the number of times she kissed him during the day.

“I had a quota that I had to meet, which changed… it was touches, or looks, or kisses, that his previous partner apparently met this number very well, so I was ‘inadequate’ compared to a previous partner of his, and I had to get the touches and kisses correct,” she said.

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She claimed that if she did not meet the “correct” number, LaBeouf would make her feel like “the worst person ever”.

“He would wake me up in the night accusing me of all sorts of things,” she said.

Twigs said that she suffered from PTSD after ending her relationship with LaBeouf, and would often wake up between four and seven in the morning to find she was having a panic attack.

“I didn’t know who I was [during the relationship],” twigs said. “I was hollow.”

The Independent has contacted LaBeouf for comment.

Twigs said she wanted to tackle the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding domestic abuse, particularly the question survivors are often asked: “Why didn’t you leave?”

“It’s a fair question to ask, but it puts a lot on victims and survivors,” she said. “One answer I’ve given is because it genuinely felt impossible [to leave].

“I felt so controlled and confused, so low and beneath myself, the fear of leaving and knowing I had all this work to do just to get back to feeling OK, it was completely overwhelming. I’d never had a relationship like this before, never even heard of a relationship like this before. I wasn’t clued up, I didn’t know the tactics.”

In an email sent on 10 December, LaBeouf issued a response to the allegations made by twigs. He said that “many of these allegations [made by twigs] are not true”, but that he owed twigs and Karolyn Pho, another woman whose claims were included in the lawsuit, “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and [for me to] accept accountability for those things I have done”.

Shia LaBeouf was accused by his former partner, musician FKA twigs, of abusing her during their relationship

“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel,” he wrote to The New York Times. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations.

“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.”

The full podcast is available now on BBC Sounds.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on  0808 2000 247, or visit their website here.

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