FKA twigs opens up to Louis Theroux about experiencing domestic abuse

In a Zoom interview, the singer also discussed the creation of a new album during lockdown.

by Roisin Lanigan
26 January 2021, 11:33am


FKA twigs was the latest guest on Louis Theroux’s new podcast series this week, and she used the platform to speak candidly about her experiences of domestic abuse during her relationship with Shia LaBeouf. 

Twigs filed a lawsuit against the actor at the end of last year, citing a pattern of abuse in their relationship, which began in 2018, that escalated from jealousy and fits of rage to emotional, mental and verbal harassment, assault and sexual battery.

“I had to spend a lot of time before I could leave, just trying to gather enough of myself together so that I knew when I left, I really wouldn’t go back,” twigs said. “After the incident driving back from the desert where he was threatening to crash the car unless I said I loved him, and ended up basically strangling me in public at a gas station and nobody did anything. That was a really low moment for me because I felt like I’d never be believed. 

“I remember going back to where I was staying and calling an abused women’s helpline, and her reaction to me was so serious,” she recalls. “She was like, ‘OK, from what you’ve said, it feels to me like you’re in an unsafe place. Does your abuser know where you are? Who have you told about this?’ It felt really like… somebody is taking this so seriously and wants to get me somewhere safe, and that was a really massive wake-up call. That was the time when I realised, ‘I need a lot of help to get out of this’.”

She also opened up about the racist abuse she was subjected to whilst dating an actor, which seems most likely to be Robert Pattinson. “He was the white Prince Charming and I think they considered that he should definitely be with somebody white and blonde and not me.”

Louis’s podcast Grounded with Louis Theroux with Radio 4 has him using lockdown to track down high profile subjects around the world. In a departure from his usual awkward style of just standing in their living room asking them searching questions, he interviews guests over Zoom instead. Previous guests include Boy George, Michaela Cole, Sia, Riz Ahmed and Rylan Clarke. 

Along with discussing her experience of domestic abuse, twigs and Louis discussed the former’s upcoming music. With the pandemic putting a stop to her plans to tour with 2019 album Magdalene, twigs instead collaborated digitally with musicians over the internet. "Over lockdown I wrote an album, all over the internet," twigs said. "All working with people I've never worked with before. I've got more collaborations and features on this album than I've ever had before. The majority of the people I've never met in real life. We spent a lot of time with each other over FaceTime. It's a real product of 2020. It's about being able to have my work represent landmarks in time. To make an album over FaceTime is the epitome of an artist being isolated and still having the desire to make work. So I felt that I did that."

And we don’t have to wait much longer to hear the fruits of those FaceTime calls. A new track, “Don’t Judge Me”, will be out later today. Calling the music much “lighter” than her usual style, we can’t wait to hear it. “I've been missing my friends and going out, getting ready, and dancing. I've wanted to make music for the people closest to me that I love."

FKA Twigs
Louis Theroux