Two months after suing former partner Shia LaBeouf over allegations of sexual assault, battery and emotional distress, the singer FKA Twigs took part in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” In the segment, aired Thursday, co-host Gayle King briefly hesitated to ask Twigs something, wondering out loud whether it was appropriate: “You know the question is, why didn’t you leave?”
“I know that you’re asking it out of love, but I’m just going to make a stance and say I’m not going to answer that question anymore,” the artist responded. “Because the question should really be to the abuser: Why are you holding someone hostage with abuse? People say it can’t have been that bad, because else you would’ve left. But it’s like, no, it’s because it was that bad, I couldn’t leave.”
The appearance marks FKA Twigs’s first television interview since the New York Times broke news of the civil lawsuit filed early December in Los Angeles Superior Court. The 33-year-old singer, born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, has continued to speak out in those two months. LaBeouf, 34, has reportedly parted ways with talent agency CAA and been receiving treatment at an inpatient facility.
In an email sent to the Times regarding the lawsuit, LaBeouf stated that he had “no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations” and that he had “been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years.” He has denied Barnett’s allegations through representatives, though his lawyer Shawn Holley told USA Today that “issuing general denials to all the allegations in a lawsuit is standard procedure in civil practice and signals nothing about Shia’s past statements or his acceptance of responsibility for things he has done wrong. Nothing has changed.”
In conversation with King, Barnett revisited the abuse she says she suffered during the course of her nearly year-long relationship with LaBeouf, which began after they met in 2018 on the set of his semi-autobiographical film ‘Honey Boy.’ She noted that he first courted her by “love bombing,” or showering her with over-the-top displays of affection, only to “knock me off the pedestal, to tell me I was worthless, to criticise me, to berate me, to pick me apart.”
“Some of the worst times I experienced in that relationship were when he felt he was losing control of me and I was trying to get out,” she said.
Barnett recalled a harrowing incident from around Valentine’s Day in 2019, which is also described in the lawsuit. While driving back from a spa, LaBeouf allegedly threatened to crash the car if Barnett didn’t express affection for him right then. He eventually pulled over at a gas station, she said, where he slammed her against the car and choked her as she tried to escape. She mentioned to King that there were a few men standing nearby who watched and did nothing to intervene.
The singer has spoken out about her relationship with LaBeouf because “victims and survivors shouldn’t have to feel alone,” she said, later adding that she only filed the lawsuit against LaBeouf after it became clear he would not seek help on his own. Since then, life has changed for her.
“I just couldn’t carry it anymore,” Barnett said. “I felt like I was cracking. Whereas now I feel like I’ve handed his dysfunction back to him, and it’s his.”