'Victims and survivors shouldn’t have to feel alone,' the singer told Gayle King on 'CBS This Morning.'
FKA Twigs is telling her harrowing story. In an interview with Gayle King that aired on Thursday's episode of CBS This Morning, the 33-year-old singer gets emotional while opening up about the alleged abuse she suffered from her ex-boyfriend, Shia LaBeouf.
FKA and LaBeouf dated for about a year after they met when she was cast in his 2019 film, Honey Boy. In December, she filed a lawsuit against him, accusing him of "relentless abuse," including sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. LaBeouf responded to FKA's claims in emails to The New York Times, writing in part that "many of these allegations are not true."
Their relationship, FKA said, began with actions that she at one time found romantic, but now believes were a test from LaBeouf.
"In the beginning he would... jump over the fence where I was staying and leave flowers outside my door and poems and books. I thought it was very romantic, but that quickly changed," she said. "I understand now that that's testing your boundaries. Instead of me thinking, 'Oh that’s nice to have flowers outside my door.' Now I think, 'That’s inappropriate to jump over the fence of where I am living. That’s breaking a boundary.'"
From there, FKA claimed that LaBeouf's behavior "became gradually more and more abusive," adding that he instituted requirements for the amount of "physical affection" she showed him each day.
"At first it was touches, so I'd have to touch him and be like, 'Are you OK? I love you.' Little things like that," she said. "... I think it was around 20 touches and kisses a day. So I would start to panic and you lose count and the days blur into each other and I am thinking, 'It's eight o'clock and I've got, like, three hours to do this.'"
FKA claimed that LaBeouf would gaslight her by "minimizing... and denying" her experiences, even when the alleged abuse turned physical.
"There were certain instances where he would push me and then he would say, 'You fell.' I would get really confused and I would think, 'Maybe I did,'" she recalled.
At the same time of the alleged gaslighting, FKA claimed that LaBeouf would also "love bomb" her.
"[He was] putting me on a pedestal, telling me that I was amazing, over the top displays of affection, just to knock me off the pedestal to tell me that I was worthless, to criticize, to berate me, to pick me apart," she told King. "Some of the worst times in that relationship were when, I think, he felt he was losing control of me and I was trying to get out."
The final straw for FKA came when she and LaBeouf took a trip to a spa, which "just descended into one of the worst long weekends that I’d had in the whole of my life."
"It resulted in him speeding down the motorway and saying that if I left him or if I said that I didn't love him and if I was gonna leave him then he would smash the car into the side of a wall," she claimed. "I thought, 'Wow, he needs so much control over me he would rather kill us both.'"
The experience FKA describes came to a head when LaBeouf pulled into a gas station and the singer tried to get her bags from the car while three male witnesses looked on and "did nothing."
"I remember thinking, 'This is it, I am done, I can't do this anymore,'" she said. "He picks me up and he threw me against the car and started strangling me. That’s when I realized I need to get help to get out of the relationship."
FKA said the inaction of the male witnesses made her feel "so alone," which motivated her to come forward "because victims and survivors shouldn’t have to feel alone."
After that weekend, FKA, while breaking down in tears, told King that she was "sort of shocked" to see that one side of her body was "completely black."
"I'm a dancer and I really love my body and I take such good care of it. I was looking at my body and I just thought, 'Where did it all go wrong?'" she recalled.
Despite her experiences, FKA said she hadn't initially planned to file a lawsuit against LaBeouf. Instead, she first requested that he get help and donate money to an organization like the helpline that had provided her a "real moment of everything changing."
FKA claimed that LaBeouf did not do as she requested, which prompted her to file the lawsuit. After she did so, LaBeouf emailed a statement to The New York Times.
"I'm not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations," he wrote in part. "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."
"I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism," he continued, noting that he was in therapy and a sober member of a 12-step program. "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."
LaBeouf's statement, FKA said, reminded her "of some of the gaslighting that I experienced when I was with him," where he would take "some of the blame, but not all of it."
Now that she's told her story, FKA said she's "feeling brave."
"I just couldn’t carry it anymore. I felt like I was cracking," she said. "Whereas now I feel I have handed his dysfunction back to him and it’s his."
If you or someone you know is 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.