celebrity

At 10, Shia LaBeouf witnessed his mother's rape. Years later, he would publicly meltdown.

This article contains mentions of rape and sexual assault and may be triggering to some readers. 

Shia LaBeouf has a new movie, where he stars as a version of his own alcoholic father.

And yes, it explains a lot.

LaBeouf’s upcoming film, Honey Boy, a title which refers to his dad’s nickname for him, was written while the actor was in rehab in 2017. All reports indicate that it finally gives us an insight into why the troubled actor has coped with fame and fortune as he has.

The now 33-year-old is a former child star who’s publicly struggled with his demons ever since, despite having a successful Hollywood career. For a long time, audiences were just as familiar with LaBeouf’s off-screen behaviour as they were with his performance in blockbusters such as the Transformers franchise.

Here’s everything we know about the Disney Channel star who turned into one of Hollywood’s bad boys.

Watch the trailer for Shia LaBeouf’s Honey Boy below. 

Shia LaBeouf’s childhood.

The actor who has said he’s Jewish, grew up in Echo Park, in Los Angeles.

His French Cajun father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, was a clown from San Francisco who had spent time in France studying commedia dell’arte.

LaBeouf also told Vanity Fair his father was a “drug trafficker”, and served three tours in Vietnam, after which he became a heroin addict.

“It wasn’t that he was a bad father, because he was a great father,” LaBeouf said.

“I couldn’t have wished for a better father, especially for what I’m doing now. But at the time, the party never stopped for him.”

Jeffrey developed stronger issues with substance abuse as LaBeouf, an only child, grew up.

His mother Shayna, a former ballet dancer who’d studied in New York, was LaBeouf’s rock.

After he decided to get into acting, LaBeouf hustled to get parts in television commercials. He finally landed the role of Louis Stevens on Disney’s Even Stevens in 2000, when he was 13. From there, he starred in movies such as Holes and Constantine.

shia labeouf 2019
LaBeouf landed the role of Louis Stevens on Disney’s Even Stevens in 2000. Image: Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

Shia LaBeouf’s adult career.

LaBeouf’s adult breakthrough in Hollywood came in Disturbia in 2007.

That same year, Vanity Fair put the actor on their cover and declared he was “the next Tom Hanks”.

But it would eventually transpire that LaBeouf did not have the same public charisma as the icon he was likened to. As the pressure of work increased, the star turned to alcohol as a crutch.

In 2008, he commenced starring in the Transformer movies, and has since acted in films such as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Lawless, and Borg vs McEnroe.

Troubled behaviour.

During his 20s, LaBeouf developed a reputation for being rude, drunken, violent and pretentious.

In 2011, he was reportedly drunk and aggressive on the set of Lawless.

In December 2013, LaBeouf was discovered to have plagiarised the work of Dan Clowes, in his short film, Howard Cantor. He eventually apologised, but the damage to his credibility had been done.

In 2014, LaBeouf wore a paper bag on his head, which read, “I am not famous anymore” – on the red carpet for Nymphomaniac. He later dismissed the move as one of his many strange ‘performance art’ moments. (Other 'performance art' moments included locking himself in an elevator and watching 29 of his movies in a New York theatre for three days straight.)

Take a look inside Shia Labeouf's art exhibition below. Post continues after video.

On June 26, 2014, LaBeouf was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass at New York's Studio 54 theatre. After the incident, he voluntarily sought treatment for alcoholism.

On July 8, 2017, LaBeouf was arrested in Savannah, Georgia, for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

ADVERTISEMENT

News site TMZ obtained Savannah police footage which showed much of the aftermath, which included the actor using a number of profanities and racist slurs.

LaBeouf was found not guilty on one charge of public intoxication, and pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct, for which he was fined $1,000, and served 12 months’ probation.

Rehab and recriminations.

Speaking to Esquire in March 2018, LaBeouf explained how rehabilitation for his alcohol issues helped him understand his rage.

"When I got to rehab last year, they said I had PTSD," LaBeouf revealed.

He then shared that he had witnessed his mother being raped when he was 10 years old, and that the rapist had escaped after the attack.

LaBeouf now understands that he was deeply affected by the incident, and carried anger about it ever since.

shia labeouf 2019
"I’ve always thought somebody was coming in. My whole life." Image: Getty.

"The first time I got arrested with a real charge, it stemmed from the same shit. Some guy bumped into my mother’s car with his car in a parking lot, and my head went right to, ‘You need to avenge your mother!’

“So, I went after the dude with a knife."

LaBeouf didn’t use the knife, but was shaken enough to henceforth sleep with a gun.

"I’ve always thought somebody was coming in. My whole life," LaBeouf said.

The actor’s time in rehab also gave him time to reflect on his behaviour in Georgia.

"What went on in Georgia was mortifying,” he admitted to Esquire.

“White privilege and desperation and disaster.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m a buffoon. My public outbursts are failures. They’re not strategic. They’re a struggling motherf*cker showing his ass in front of the world.”

Romantic relationships.

LaBeouf’s first ever girlfriend was China Brezna, the daughter of producer Larry Brezner. They were together for three years.

shia labeouf 2019
Shia LaBeouf and Mia Goth. Image: Getty.

The actor met his co-star and later girlfriend, English actress Mia Goth, while filming Nymphomaniac in 2012.

They apparently got married on October 10, 2016, in Las Vegas, but the marriage was held invalid. The couple later confirmed a legitimate marriage had since happened.

In September 2018, they separated and filed for divorce.

Since then, LaBeouf has been linked to singer FKA Twigs.

In a 2007 interview, Vanity Fair asked the actor whether being a child of divorce affected his relationships. The ambitious actor agreed that it did.

“I think I’m prone to not being a good guy in relationships,” he said.

“I’m just selfish. I have to be for what I do.”

Honey Boy is set for release in the US on November 8 via Amazon Studios. An Australian release date hasn't yet been set.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.


For more gossip celebrity news, sign up for our "Mamamia Celebrity" newsletter. The best entertainment stories of the day to help you unwind.


00:00 / ???