FKA twigs on Her Abusive Relationship with Shia LaBeouf for ELLE Magazine

Posted on February 18, 2021

In ELLE’s March 2021 cover story, on newsstands March 2, FKA twigs opens up about her abusive relationship with Shia LaBeouf and the bombshell lawsuit she filed against him accusing him of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. “It’s hard to do this publicly,” the singer said. “But I want people to know my story. If I can’t help people through my experience, it makes my experience 10 times worse.”







On how she narrowly survived this abusive relationship: “I think it’s luck,” she says with a sigh. “I honestly wish I could say that I found some strength and I saw this light. I wish I could say, ‘[It is] a testament to my strong character,’ or ‘It’s the way my mother raised me.’ It’s none of that. It’s pure luck that I’m not in that situation anymore.”

At the time of her relationship, twigs had a successful career, a home she could fly back to, financial security, and a network of support. And yet she was in no way inoculated against abuse. “People wouldn’t think that it would happen to a woman like me. The biggest misconception is, ‘Well, you’re smart. If it was that bad, why didn’t you leave?’ ” Her response: “It can happen to anyone.” And when the lockdown began, and she realized how many women were potentially stuck inside with their abusers, she got very anxious. “It made me realize I need to come forward and talk about my experience. What I went through with my abuser is, hands down, the worst thing [I’ve experienced] in the whole of my life. Recovering has been the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.”

What was also never lost on twigs was the way in which race and ethnicity compounded the abuse that was being inflicted upon her. She recalls a trip she took with LaBeouf to Jamaica, where her paternal grandparents live and she has strong ancestral ties. While staying at a luxury resort (a first for her, as the singer often stays with family in Jamaica), she befriended the staff—much to LaBeouf’s chagrin. One day, after returning from a jog around the property, LaBeouf accused her of having sex with one of the waiters; he had seen her “flip her hair” at one of them. “You don’t understand,” she said. “I’m Jamaican. These are my people. I’ve been here many times before. I’m just trying to be nice.” But LaBeouf wasn’t convinced. Twisting her politeness into betrayal, LaBeouf told twigs if she really loved him, she would avoid eye contact when ordering from male servers at the resort. “Now I realize that this is how an abuser tests your boundaries. Can he get me to look at the ground in my own island where I’m from? Yeah, he could. If he can get me to do that, how far can it go?”

Twigs hopes that by coming forward with her harrowing story, she can help end the cult of silence surrounding intimate partner violence (IPV). “When I look at what happened with [LaBeouf], I think now the most frustrating thing is…a lot of the tactics the abuser will use are things that if I would’ve known, I could have spotted in the first month of my relationship.”


If you, or someone you know, is a victim of intimate partner violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline toll-free at 800-799-SAFE or connect online at


Style Credits:
Cover: Jacket, Turtleneck, and Trousers by Ralph Lauren Collection | Hoop Earrings by Cartier | Long Antique Pendant Necklace by Bentley & Skinner
Image 1: Gown by Valentino | Her own jewelry
Image 2: Dress by Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood | Her own jewelry

Hair by Rio Sreedharan
Makeup by Bea Sweet
Manicure by Imarni 


[Photo Credit: Ruth Ossai for ELLE Magazine]

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