CONTENT WARNING: The following article contains allegations of sexual misconduct and psychological abuse
Ryan Adams is the subject of a damning New York Times bombshell report outlining allegations of abuse from a number of women including his celebrity ex-wife Mandy Moore, singer Phoebe Bridgers and an underaged fan.
The accusations from a total of seven women range from emotional and psychological abuse to sexual misconduct, with the Times alleging “a pattern of manipulative behaviour in which Adams dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex”.
Adams is denying all the claims.
Here’s a brief rundown of what everyone is saying:
Ava: 14-year-old bass player
Now 20-years-old, “Ava” alleges to The Times that she and Adams began an online relationship when she was just 14. She was making a name for herself as a bassist and caught his attention online. She claims their musical conversations soon turned sexual and that Adams exposed himself to her over Skype at least once. He also allegedly asked her for pics of herself and reportedly had “pet names” for her body parts.
The Times says they reviewed multiple texts between Adams and Ava, where he questioned her about her age and urged her to keep their conversations secret. The paper acknowledges that Ava “did not always answer honestly”, however, in a text message from late 2014, Adams appeared to acknowledge the creepiness of the whole situation in one text, which allegedly read: “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.”
Yet within 10 minutes of that text, the conversation again turned sexual: “I just want you to touch your nipple,” he allegedly wrote, adding: “And tell me that your mom is not gonna kill me if she finds out we even text”.
In a statement, Adams’ attorney Andrew B. Brettler says “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage”.
“If, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware,” he adds.
Adams has also taken to Twitter to himself deny the accusations:
But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period.
— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) February 13, 2019
Married to Adams from 2009 to 2015, Moore has gone on the record accusing Adams of being controlling, psychologically abusive and stunting her professional career. “Music was a point of control for him,” she claims.
“He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument,’” she tells the Times, alleging that Adams dissuaded her from working with other producers.
“His controlling behaviour essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s.”
In retort, Adams’ lawyer denies that Adams ever stopped Moore from working with other producers, claiming instead that he was supportive of her “well-deserved professional success”.
The singer-songwriter claims Adams reached out to her in 2014, when she was 20 years old, offering to help her with her career. But their professional relationship quickly turned sexual and then, according to Bridgers, emotionally abusive.
“He began barraging her with texts, insisting that she prove her whereabouts, or leave social situations to have phone sex, and threatening suicide if she didn’t reply immediately,” The Times reports.
Bridgers also outlined one incident in 2017, when she was touring with Adams’ as his support act, where he allegedly exposed himself to her without consent: “The first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room. I came upstairs and he was completely nude,” she claims.
According to Bridgers, after she ended their sexual relationship, Adams rescinded an offer for her to open an upcoming tour and then threatened to withhold the release of her music.
Adams’ lawyer denies that any of these incidents ever took place, describing Adams’ relationship with Bridgers as “a brief, consensual fling”.
Much like Bridgers, singer Courtney Jaye also claims that her relationship with Adams began with intense flattery and offers to collaborate and help her career. However, after their first songwriting session, Adams “began remarking on Jaye’s appearance and moving in on her”.
She said she tried to deflect the attention of “Hurricane Ryan”, but failed.
“I just shut myself off,” she told the Times. “Something changed in me that year. It made me just not want to make music.”
Adams’ ex-fiancee also described the singer as a “controlling and emotionally abusive partner”, who later targeted her with “digital harassment”.
During their relationship, she claims, he isolated her socially and professionally, trying to dictate who she worked with and hung out with.
She also alleges that he also had a violent temper and would smash things and physically intimidate her.
When she broke things off Adams in 2018, Butterworth further alleges that he inundated her with “hundreds of text messages, phone calls and emails” threatening suicide and lawsuits, and also posted images of her to his Instagram account, tagging her friends and even a family member. One such post read: “Get it while it’s hot folks. [Butterworth] IS SINGLE.”
Adams, through his lawyer, has disputed Butterworth’s account of his behaviour as controlling, abusive, or physically intimidating.
Two other female musicians, who “declined to be identified for fear of retribution”, have also levelled similar claims against Adams, alleging that they were subjected to “intense flattery and a bait and switch in which professional opportunities would be commingled with sexual come-ons”.
Through his lawyer, Adams has categorically denied the “extremely serious and outlandish accusations” in The Times’s reporting, referring to some of the allegations as “grousing by disgruntled individuals” who blamed him “for their own personal or professional disappointments”.
Adams has also continued to address the allegations himself on Twitter, writing:
“As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing.”
In a tweet posted and deleted earlier today, Adams also tweeted a message tagging The New York Times, which he captioned: “Happy Vanetines [sp] day @nytimes. I know you got lawyers But do you have the truth on your side. No. I do. And you have run out of friends. My folks are NOT your friends. Run your smear piece. But the leagal [sp] eagles see you. Rats. I’m fucking taking you down. Let’s learn I bait.”
According to The Times, over the past few months, several women left scarred by their relationships with Adams — including Moore — have found one another and formed a support network.
“What you experience with him — the treatment, the destructive, manic sort of back and forth behaviour — feels so exclusive,” Moore says. “You feel like there’s no way other people have been treated like this.”