In court docs obtained by In Touch, the singer, 32, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, accused LaBeouf, 34, of “relentless abuse,” including sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress. The U.K. native also claimed the Honey Boy star knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
According to The New York Times, who was the first to report the news on Friday, December 11, the lawsuit lays out a number of disturbing examples of abuse, including one instance just after Valentine’s Day 2019 when LaBeouf allegedly removed his seatbelt and threatened to crash the car unless she said she loved him. Barnett claimed she begged to be let out of the vehicle, and LaBeouf pulled over at a gas station, followed her out of the car and assaulted her, throwing her against the car.
In a separate instance, the pair were driving home from a trip to the desert during which the Transformers star allegedly woke Barnett up one night and choked her.
“I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” she told The New York Times.
The relationship lasted just under a year, but the gas station incident, the lawsuit states, is part of a larger pattern of abuse by LaBeouf. In 2015, strangers recorded a video of him arguing with then-girlfriend Mia Goth, telling her, “This is the kind of thing that makes a person abusive.” After the men recording LaBeouf gave him a ride, he told them: “If I’d have stayed there, I would’ve killed her.”
Following news of the lawsuit, LaBeouf gave a statement to The New York Times via email. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he wrote. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.” In a separate statement to the outlet, the Emmy winner stated that “many of these allegations are not true.”
In Touch reached out to Barnett and LaBeouf but did not hear back at the time of publication.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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