Shia LaBeouf Recalls Feeling a 'Deep Shame' After Hitting 'Bottom' Following His 2017 Arrest

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is opening up about a dark period in his life.

During a recent interview on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, the 33-year-old actor says that he was "drunk out of my mind and not rational at all" when he was arrested for disorderly conduct and public drunkenness in 2017.

At the time, LaBeouf, who had been filming The Peanut Butter Falconsaid he was "deeply ashamed" of his behavior, adding that "It is a new low. A low I hope is a bottom." On the THR podcast, the actor shares that the arrest was, in fact, his "bottom."

"[I felt] a kind of shame, deep shame," he says, before addressing his comments at the time of the arrest, which included, "[the President] doesn't give a f**k about you, and you wanna do what? Arrest white people?" 

"I'm feeling like people on set think I'm a racist, believe I'm a racist, and I'm feeling all of that and don't want to be alive, basically," he says.

LaBeouf vowed not to drink alcohol again and completed his work on The Peanut Butter Falcon following the incident before entering a court-ordered stay in rehab. It was there, LaBeouf reveals, that the actor realized he was struggling with more than an addiction to alcohol.

"It was the first time I was told I had PTSD. I had just thought I was an alcoholic," he says, alluding to his troubled childhood, which he chronicled in his latest film, Honey Boy. "The stuff that's in Honey Boy comes out of these exposure therapy sessions."

Honey Boy, LaBeouf says, "contextualizes who I was publicly, and kind of plays on it," by allowing the audience to see the circumstances that led to many people "thinking I was a d**k."

Those circumstances included a quick rise to fame after starring on Disney Channel's Even Stevens, during which time LaBeouf lived with his father in a motel. In the film, which takes place during that period of time, LaBeouf depicts his dad as an angry registered sex offender who makes his life miserable, while also encouraging his professional success.

"Everything that's in the film happened," LaBeouf, who plays his father in the flick, says. "... I became addicted to that kudos. It kind of fueled my way of working for a long time -- just pinning your own pain and holding on to it and not really ever dealing with it or questioning it, but just keeping it in a little bottle that you can pop the top on whenever it's needed, when the switch needs to be flipped."

That mindset only encouraged LaBeouf to work harder, as "having money meant having a family."

"The more money I had, the more I could have my family around. That's just how I equated it," he explains. "My dad wasn't around for a lot of my life because he was chasing cash. And my mother wasn't around because she was chasing cash. And I just looked at capitalism as the reason my family didn't work out and the reason their marriage failed. I looked at it as an economic thing."

"They loved each other deeply, and all of their fighting came from money, and so I just thought, 'Well, if we had money, there'd be no fighting and I'd have a family,'" he continues. "This is what created this hustle in me."

That hustle worked, with LaBeouf moving on to star in blockbuster hits including HolesDisturbiaTransformers and others.

"I don't think there was any acting going on," he says. "This was, like, personality. There was no acting going on for the huge front half of my career. This was all just my personality exhibited on a camera."

"It's the ordinary kid in the extraordinary situation over and over and over again," LaBeouf continues. "And that's actually what I was -- I was an ordinary kid, for real, in an extraordinary situation, for real."

Following his commercial success, LaBeouf dramatically changed course to indie films, starring in Lawless, Nymphomaniac, Fury and others.

"I was trying to earn my father. I was trying to shake off Disney. I was trying to shake off blockbusters," he explains of that period, which also included a 2014 arrest for disorderly conduct. "And I was trying to work with people who f**ked with me."

With Honey Boy, though, LaBeouf wanted to explain that period and others by giving viewers insight into his tumultuous personal life, adding that he hoped it "could be a route toward creativity again."

LaBeouf even got his father's permission to portray him in the movie, visiting him in Costa Rica after not seeing him for seven years.

"He didn't believe that I could pull it off," LaBeouf says of his father's response to the request, a mindset that changed after he actually saw the film.

"He knows that I see him," he says. "He's calmed. And I've calmed."

Back in August, LaBeouf spoke with ET's Katie Krause about another role he said "softened him." Check out our exclusive interview about how The Peanut Butter Falcon changed him.


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