In December 2020, FKA twigs filed a lawsuit against ex Shia LaBeouf accusing him of abuse. In February, she spoke about the accusations to Elle and Margaret Qualley re-shared the cover.
It was February 2021, and the 26-year-old actress had re-shared Elle‘s March 2021 issue in which the 33-year-old singer spoke about the accusations of abuse she brought forth in a lawsuit against ex Shia LaBeouf in December 2020. Alongside FKA twigs’ magazine cover, Qualley, who’d ended her brief relationship with the 35-year-old actor in January, wrote two words: “Thank you.”
“It was important to me for her to know that I believe her,” the Maid star explained to Harper’s Bazaar for its October Purpose issue, “and it’s as simple as that.”
According to her lawsuit, FKA twigs, who’s also known as Tahlia Barnett, met LaBeouf in 2018 while they were working on the movie Honey Boy. They formed a relationship after the film wrapped and she moved into his Los Angeles home that October.
“Over a course of months, LaBeouf engaged in a continuous stream of verbal and mental abuse toward Tahliah, belittling her and berating her after the slightest perceived ‘insult’ by LaBeouf,” the filing, obtained by E! News, read. “LaBeouf isolated Tahliah from her friends and family, making it so her daily existence and routine revolved around LaBeouf and only LaBeouf. His verbal abuse escalated into physical abuse, during which LaBeouf became increasingly violent towards Tahliah.”
The lawsuit also accused LaBeouf of keeping FKA twigs in a “constant state of fear by openly storing live firearms throughout his home” and knowingly giving her a sexually transmitted disease. The causes of action listed in the lawsuit included sexual battery, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gross negligence and expressed FKA twigs’ intent to donate a significant portion of any money received from the lawsuit to organizations dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence.
“I am doing this for something much bigger,” she said on a January episode of Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast. “I just want to change the conversation and the stigma around domestic abuse. I am definitely healed to a point where I can put my experience into something positive to try and help other people. That’s all I want.”
FKA twigs’ attorney Bryan Freedman told E! News they “tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment.” But after LaBeouf “was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help,” he continued, FKA twigs filed the lawsuit “to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”
LaBeouf and his lawyers filed a response in February in which he denied “each and every” allegation made by FKA twigs and claimed she “has not suffered any injury or damage as a result of [his] actions.” He requested that the judge dismiss her claims and that she pay legal costs.
In addition, LaBeouf issued a comment to The New York Times in a January article about the lawsuit, which also mentioned abuse allegations brought forth by stylist Karolyn Pho in the “prior history of abuse” section of FKA twigs’ lawsuit.
“I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said in an email to the newspaper. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. 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.”
LaBeouf also told the publication that “many of these allegations are not true” but said he owed the women “the opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept accountability for those things I have done.” At the time, he shared he was “a sober member of a 12-step program” and in therapy.
“I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism,” he wrote to The New York Times, “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.”
According to New York Daily News, FKA twigs’ lawyer Sean Hardy told a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in June, “The parties have been engaged in productive settlement negotiations and are in the process of arranging for an early mediation.” Per the outlet, the judge set up a follow-up hearing for Dec. 15 and said, “If you can’t [reach a settlement], when you come back in December, I probably would give you a [trial] date in early 2023.”