British singer-songwriteris speaking out in her first television interview since in December against her former boyfriend, actor Shia LaBeouf. She accuses LaBeouf of sexual battery, assault and inflicting emotional distress. He denies the allegations. His lawyers said the actor "denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation" in the lawsuit.
"I was always told that, you know, I was special and to look after my heart and to look after the light inside my chest and when I was with Shia, that light got blown out. And I just didn't think that that could happen," she told "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King.
FKA twigs said that she met LaBeouf in 2018 when she made her acting debut in "Honey Boy," a film LaBeouf wrote about his childhood. The two began a troubled romance that lasted just under a year, a relationship that she said had red flags from the start.
"In the beginning, he would come, he would almost, like, well, he actually would jump over the fence where I was staying and leave flowers outside my door, and poems, and books and I thought it was very romantic. But that quickly changed," FKA twigs said. "You know, I understand now that that's testing your boundaries. Instead of me thinking, 'Oh, you know, that's nice to have flowers outside my door,' now I think, 'That's inappropriate to jump over the fence of where I'm living. That's breaking a boundary.' But it didn't stop there. You know, his behavior became gradually more and more abusive."
FKA twigs said she wanted to share her story to help others spot early signs of abuse and let survivors know they are not alone.
Read portions of her full interview below:
Gayle King: I've heard you use the term "love bombing." What do you mean by that?
FKA twigs: Putting me on a pedestal, telling me that I was amazing, over-the-top displays of affection, just to knock me off the pedestal, to tell me that I was worthless, to criticize me, to berate me, to, you know, pick me apart.
FKA twigs: Some of the worst times that I experienced in that relationship were when I think he felt like he was losing control of, of me, and like I was trying to get out.
King: Didn't he have a request of you, you had to kiss him a certain amount of times?
FKA twigs: Yeah, I had to give him a certain amount of sort of physical affection a day. So at first it was touches. So I'd have to, like, touch him and be like, "Are you okay?" Like, "I love you."
King: Show concern.
FKA twigs: Yeah, "Are you okay."
King: Express love.
FKA twigs: You know, little things like that. And then I began to get really on top of that and then he would say that I didn't kiss him enough.
King: And you never knew what that bar was?
FKA twigs: No, I think it was around 20 touches and kisses a day. And so I'd start to panic and I and, you know, you lose count, and the days blur into each other. And I'm thinking, "It's 8:00, and I've got, like, three hours to, to do this."
FKA twigs: Abusers use gaslighting, which is where like, somebody minimizes your experience. You know, it's like altering your narrative or not listening to you, and, and denying your experience, and eventually, it did become physical. There were certain instances where he would push me and then he would say, "You fell." And I would get really confused. And, and I think, I would think, "Maybe I did."
King: When did you know, "This is really serious, maybe I need to rethink this relationship?"
FKA twigs: Yes. Well, we had, around Valentine's Day we had a really disturbing trip to a spa in the desert. But it just descended into one of the worst, you know, like, long weekends, that I'd had in the whole of my life. It resulted in him speeding down the motorway and saying that if I left him, or if I say, if I said that I didn't love him and if I was gonna leave him that he would smash the car into the side of a wall and I thought wow, like, he needed so much control over me that he would rather kill us both. And eventually, he pulled over into a gas station, and I tried to unload my bags from the car. There were three men, opposite the car. And I remember thinking, "This is it." I was like, "This is it. I'm done." Like, "I can't do this anymore." And he picked me up and he threw me against the car and started strangling me and that's when I realized I needed to get help to get out of this relationship.
King: What did the men at the gas station do?
FKA twigs: They did nothing. They just watched us. And I felt so alone, you know? And that's why I wanted to come forward, because victims and survivors, like, shouldn't have to feel alone.
King: And it got so bad that you called the helpline, right?
FKA twigs: Yes and I remember after that weekend, going back to where I was staying and looking at myself in the mirror, one side of me was, like, completely black. And I was so shocked, you know? Like, I was... [starts crying]
King: It's okay. It's alright twigs.
FKA twigs: Sorry.
King: No, no, no.
FKA twigs: I really didn't wanna cry.
King: You do not need to apologize.
FKA twigs: No, I didn't want to cry.
King: So twigs, look at you for just a second. You're talking about something that's very traumatic to you. And yet you feel that you're the one that has to apologize. That's sort of...
FKA twigs: Yeah.
King: It's sort of why we need to be talking about this, don't you think?
FKA twigs: Exactly. So I've gone back to where I was staying, and the whole one side of my body is black and blue. And I remember thinking, you know, I'm a dancer. And, and I really love my body, and I take such good care of it and I was looking at my body and I just thought, "Where did it all go wrong?"
King: Why did you decide, twigs, to file a lawsuit against Shia LaBeouf?
FKA twigs: I didn't want to, originally, I wanted to ensure that he got help privately so that he couldn't hurt anyone else the way he hurt me. I wanted him to donate money to charity, to an organization, because when I called the helpline it was a real moment of everything changing to me. They didn't know that I was, like, FKA twigs. They didn't know who I was. I was just a girl on the end of the phone. And...
King: Who needed help.
FKA twigs: Who needed help.
King: If he had done the things that you had asked, you would not have filed the lawsuit.
FKA twigs: No.
King: Nobody who's been in this position likes this question, and I often wonder, is it, is it even an appropriate question to ask and you know the question is why didn't you leave?
FKA twigs: Yeah. I think, we just have to stop asking that question. I know that you're asking it, like, out of love but I'm just gonna make a stance and say that I'm not gonna answer that question anymore, because the question should really be to the abuser, "Why are you holding someone hostage with abuse?" You know, and people say, "Oh, it can't have been that bad, because or else you would have left." And it's like, "no, it's because it was that bad I couldn't leave."
King: Shia LaBeouf did release a statement, "Many of these allegations are not true." But he also said this, "I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I've been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years," he says. "I'm ashamed of that history, and I'm sorry to those I hurt." When you heard that, what did you think?
FKA twigs: I think it just reminds me of some of the gaslighting that I experienced when I was with him, and sort of taking some of the blame but not all of it, and then denying it.
King: What do you hope will come out of this?
FKA twigs: I think that the result for me is already happening. I think I needed to, I just couldn't carry it anymore, you know? I felt like I was cracking. Whereas now I feel like I've handed his dysfunction back to him and it's his.
King: So we sit here today. FKA twigs is feeling what?
FKA twigs: Um. That's a big question. I'm feeling brave.
This story raises issues related to domestic violence. If you need help, or would like to learn more about how to help others, please see the resources below.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE or thehotline.org
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: ncadv.org
U.K.-based charity Sistah Space: sistahspace.org
Futures Without Violence: futureswithoutviolence.org
Safe Horizon: safehorizon.org