Shia LaBeouf is back in the spotlight in a big way.
The actor’s personal woes — including an allegation of abuse by former FKA branches, who sued him for sexual assault, sexual assault and infliction of emotional distress — made him persona non grata, but he resurfaced amid a career slump. In the past 24 hours, he broke his silence about the dark days surrounding the abuse allegations and revealed that he turned to religion – specifically Catholicism – to turn his life around. He will also face Olivia Wilde after the Do not worry darling The director claimed this week that he was fired from that film because of his “combative energy.” He says he resigned, providing texts and emails to support his case.
On Friday, the Transformers The actor called out Wilde, denying that he was fired as the film began production in August 2020, and provided alleged emails and text exchanges between them in which he asked him to reconsider leaving the project.
“My firing never happened, Olivia,” LaBeouf wrote in a new email sent to Wilde and obtained by Variety in the wake of Wilde’s interview claiming just that in the report a few days earlier. “And while I fully understand the appeal of pushing this story because of the current social landscape, the social currency it brings. It’s not the truth. So I’m humbly asking you, as a person who wants to fix things, to fix the narrative as best you can.”
Wilde had said the actor was fired to keep the film’s star Florence Pugh “safe” and wished her “health and progress because I believe in restorative justice” amid abuse allegations. LaBeouf’s email to Wilde claims he “abandoned the film due to lack of rehearsal time” under the second director. He sent Wilde — and Variety — screenshots of their texts from August 2020 in which he said he should step down as Jack. The role of Jack was later recast with Harry Styles, whom Wilde has been dating since fall 2020.
LaBeouf also pulled a video Wilde allegedly sent her two days after she claimed to quit, in which she said she was “not ready to quit” and described herself as “devastated” by LaBeouf’s decision. In the video, Wilde addressed the tension between LaBeouf and Pugh, who stars in the film as Jack’s character’s wife Alice, saying, “I think this might be a bit of a wake-up call for Miss Flo,” and talked about trying to get Pugh to “really commit” and put her “mind and heart” into the project” in an effort for the co-stars to “make peace.” (Pugh is rumored to be unhappy with Wilde about Do not worry darling production, but has not said so publicly. Wilde praised her in Variety history.)
LaBeouf’s email to Wilde also touched on his problems with Twigs. He said Wilde claiming he was fired, when he says he wasn’t, is hurting him professionally as he tries to “get out of the hole I’ve dug myself with my behaviors.”
“My failures with Twigs are fundamental and real,” she wrote, “but they’re not the narrative presented. There’s a time and place to deal with such things, and I’m trying to navigate a delicate situation with respect. For her and the truth, hence my silence. But this situation with your movie and my ‘shooting’ will never get a court date to face the facts. If lies are repeated enough in public they become truth. And so, It makes it a lot harder for me to dig myself out of the hole I’ve dug myself into in order to take care of my family.”
In the email, he also described himself as “627 days” sober and confirmed that he is married to Mia Goth, sharing that they welcomed a daughter, Isabel, five months ago. Said he and his Nymphomaniac co-star “journey to a healthy family with love and mutual respect.”
LaBeouf wrote about his family to illustrate a similar point that Wilde made in her interview when discussing how the public custody battle with ex Jason Sudeikis is mostly hurting their children.
“I know you’re starting your press campaign DWD and that the news of my dismissal is attractive as I am still persona non grata and may remain so for the rest of my life,” he wrote. “But speaking of my daughter, I often think of the news articles she will read when she is literate. And though I owe, and shall owe for my whole life, I owe only for my actions.’
Shortly before LaBeouf confronted Wilde about the firing claims, he sat down for a newly released interview, published Thursday, in which he talked about the dark times for him since Twigs made her allegations. The singer’s December 2020 court filing also contained allegations of abuse by Karolyn Pho, a stylist LaBeouf dated from 2010 to 2011, alleging that she inflicted physical and emotional abuse. Singer/director Sia also came forward to support Twigs’ claims, saying she was “emotionally hurt by Shia, a pathological liar, who lured me into an adulterous relationship.” During that time, LaBeouf also faced misdemeanor battery and petit larceny charges stemming from a June 2020 confrontation with an unidentified man. (He has a long arrest record, by the way.)
LaBeouf told Bishop Barron Presents, “I didn’t want to be an actor anymore and my life was a complete mess. I had hurt a lot of people and I felt deep shame and deep guilt.”
He said, “At this point I’m nuclear. Nobody wants to talk to me, including my mother. My manager doesn’t call. The agent doesn’t call. I’m no longer connected to the business.” He said his “life was on fire” and “a mess”.
He said it was very dark and he thought about killing himself.
“I had a gun on the table. I was out of here,” he said. “I didn’t want to be alive anymore when all of this happened. Shame like I’d never experienced before — the kind of shame where you forget how to breathe. You don’t know where to go. You can’t go out and get, like, a taco.” Fortunately, he added, “I was also in this deep desire to hold on.”
He referred to the “woman who accused me of all this,” saying she “wanted to get on Twitter and write all this… I wanted to justify all this and explain. Now I see that… my wife saved my life. She was for me a saint in my life. He saved my life.”
He said he has since let go of the “old me” and acknowledges that “my life had led to serious pain and harm to other people”.
While studying for his role as a priest in the biopic Padre Pio – which will premiere at the Venice Days competition film festival, which is in association with the Venice Film Festival — said he found religion and has since been committed to Roman Catholicism while still new to it.
“The approach had happened. I was already there, I had nowhere to go,” he said. “This was the last stop of the train.”
LaBeouf continued, “I know now that God was using my ego to draw me to Him,” he said. “Pulling me away from worldly desires. Everything was happening at the same time. But there would be no impetus for me to get into my car, get up [to the monastery] if I didn’t think, “Oh, I’m going to save my career.”
Amid abuse allegations in 2020, LaBeouf told the New York Times, “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting those closest to me.” However, he added that “many” of the allegations against him were untrue, but he owed the women involved “an opportunity to air their statements publicly and accept responsibility for what I have done”.
He began treatment, including for his alcoholism, in the wake of the claims and lawsuit. He was also sentenced to court-ordered therapy and anger management for his battery case in 2021.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.