FKA Twigs Says She Was Bullied by Robert Pattinson Fans While Dating Him: 'He Was Their White Prince Charming'
By Paige Gawley
FKA Twigs is opening up about a challenging time in her life. During the latest episode of the Grounded With Louis Therouxpodcast, the 33-year-old singer, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, discussed the public scrutiny she faced while dating Robert Pattinson. The pair split in 2017 after more than two years together.
"It was really, really deeply horrific and I think it was at a time where I felt like I couldn't really talk about it," she said. "I feel like if I was going through that now, I feel like I'd be able to talk about it and do some good with it."
To this day FKA is unsure why the "bullying" she faced was so harsh.
"I don't know whether it was because of my age or whether it was because of the social climate or whether it was because being Black and from Cheltenham and from a low-income family, and having to genuinely work twice as hard at everything I do to get a seat at the table," she said. "Because that is true. People talk about Black excellence, but that's because we have to be excellent to be considered average."
"I'd worked so, so, so, so hard just to get a little seat at the table," she said. "And then I got there and people just called me the most hurtful and ignorant and horrible names on the planet."
A lot of the hurtful comments she received were racist in nature.
"He was their white Prince Charming and I think [his fans] considered that he should definitely be with somebody white and blonde and not me," she said, before recalling frequently being compared to a monkey.
"Whatever I did at that time, people would find pictures of monkeys and have me doing the same thing as the monkeys," she said. "Say if I was wearing a red dress, they'd have a [photo of a] monkey in a red dress, or if I was on a bike, they'd find a monkey on a bike."
While FKA found the comparison "really hurtful," she also thought it was "really stupid."
"I remember one time they found a picture of my profile and then they found a picture of a monkey's profile and they put them next to each other and I was like, 'Wow, yeah that looks the same. Can't really argue with that. That looks the same,'" she said, adding that the comments had a "massive, kind of like dysmorphic effect" on her.
"For about six months to a year, where every time I saw my pictures... I would think, 'Gosh, I look like a monkey and people are gonna say I look like a monkey, so I need to really try and hide this monkey-ness that I have because otherwise people are going to come for me about it,'" she said. "I remember when I'd take pictures and stuff, really trying to kind of hold myself in a different way so that couldn't happen again."
Now, though, FKA said she "obviously" knows it was "completely ridiculous."
"That is essentially bullying and it does affect you psychologically. It's really sad," she said. "Just for everyone to know, I now love how I look and I'm very confident and I feel really good, but it was deeply unfair at the time that I was made to feel so self-conscious and so ugly."
"Yeah, man, it was a lot," she added. "That period was a lot, basically."
During the same interview, FKA detailed the alleged abuse she faced from another ex, Shia LaBeouf. The singer has filed a lawsuit against the actor, whom she's accused of "relentless abuse." LaBeouf responded to FKA's claims in emails to The New York Times, writing in part that "many of these allegations are not true."
Watch the video below for more on FKA and LaBeouf.