CONTENT WARNING: The following article discusses sexual battery and physical and emotional abuse
FKA twigs has discussed the abusive behaviour she allegedly experienced from Shia LaBeouf after the musician sued LaBeouf in December, citing “relentless abuse” while the two were in a relationship between 2018 and 2019. At the time, twigs accused LaBeouf of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.
In a new interview with ELLE, twigs – real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett – opened up regarding the allegedly abusive relationship, saying it was a “miracle” she “came out alive” and accusing LaBeouf of using “calculated, systematic, tricky, and mazelike” tactics to control her.
“If you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, that frog is going to jump out straightaway,” Barnett explained during the intevriew. “Whereas if you put a frog in cool water and heat it up slowly, that frog is going to boil to death. That was my experience being with [LaBeouf].”
Elsewhere in the interview, Barnett elaborates on an incident that allegedly took place on Valentine’s Day, 2019 – which was detailed in the lawsuit Barnett filed late last year.
In the lawsuit, it was alleged that LaBeouf began driving erratically with Barnett in the car, threatening to crash the vehicle if she did not profess her love for him. She asked to be let out of the car, to which LaBeouf reportedly agreed, before following and assaulting her and throwing her against the car.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘I wonder what would happen to my body…if [we] smashed into a wall at 80 miles per hour?’ I was looking for the airbag and I couldn’t see the airbag sign, so I was thinking, ‘If he doesn’t have an airbag, will this car crush my sternum?’” Barnett details during the new interview.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh no, if I crouch like that, and the front of the car crashes into my head, will it snap my neck?’ Do I jump out of the car at 80 miles an hour?”
Barnett also talks about misconceptions around abusive relationships in the interview, acknowledging that her successful career, financial security and support network did not “inoculate” her against experiencing 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?’… It can happen to anyone.”
Earlier this month, LaBeouf denied the allegations levelled against him by Barnett, claiming that his behaviour was “reasonably necessary for his self-defence and/or safety.” In a response filed in Los Angeles court, he denied that Barnett “sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission” because of him. twigs’ lawyer, Bryan Freedman, called his defence “poorly misguided” and akin to “gaslighting.”