Opening up. FKA Twigs reflected on the “most hurtful and ignorant” comments she received from fans of her ex-fiancé, Robert Pattinson, during their three-year engagement.
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The “Home With You” singer, 33, and the Tenet actor, 34, began dating in September 2014 and kept their relationship relatively private until ultimately calling off their engagement in 2017. During a recent episode of Louis Theroux‘s “Grounded” podcast, the Grammy nominee admitted that the hatred she suffered during that relationship still has an effect on her to this day.
“It was really, really deeply horrific and I think it was at a time where I felt like I couldn’t really talk about it. If I was going through that now, I feel like I’d be able to talk about it, and do some good with it,” the “Two Weeks” singer (real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett) said. “But I don’t know whether it was because of my age or whether it was because of the social climate or whether it was because being Black … [but] people just called me the most hurtful and ignorant and horrible names under the planet.”
Before she sparked a romance with the British actor, he dated Twilight costar Kristen Stewart on and off until they split in May 2013. When Pattinson eventually moved on with the “Cellophane” artist, she said fans weren’t pleased that he was with a woman of color.
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“He was their white Prince Charming and they considered he should be with someone white and blonde and not me,” she added. “Whatever I did at that time, people would find pictures of monkeys and have me doing the same thing as the monkeys.”
Looking back on the “bullying” she endured online, the “Daybed” songstress suffered an emotional toll. “I was made to feel so self-conscious and so ugly,” she said, despite growing to become “very confident” in the way she looks now. The onslaught of negative comments, however, had a big impact on her mental state.
“I remember it had this massive, dysmorphic effect on me for about six months to a year, where every time I saw my pictures and photographs I would think, ‘Gosh, I look like a monkey, and people are going to say I look like a monkey. So I need to really try and hide this monkey-ness that I have, because otherwise, people are gonna come for me about it,’” she recalled. “Obviously, I know now that’s completely ridiculous. But it is essentially bullying, and it does affect you psychologically. … It was a lot. That period was a lot.”
Though her relationship with Pattinson didn’t work out, the Remember Me actor revealed in April 2019 that he and his former fiancée are still on good terms. The Brit Award nominee later dated Honey Boy costar Shia LaBeouf. One year after their 2019 split, Twigs filed a lawsuit against the Transformers star, 34, accusing him of sexual battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress throughout their relationship.
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“I hope that by sharing my experience, I can truly help others feel like they are not alone and shed some light on how those who are worried somebody they care about may be in an abusive relationship can help because I understand it can be confusing and hard to know what to do,” the musician wrote in a powerful Instagram message in December 2020 after news of the lawsuit made headlines. “My second worst nightmare is being forced to share with the world that I am a survivor of domestic violence. My first worst nightmare is not telling anyone and knowing that I could have helped even just one person by sharing my story.”
LaBeouf told The New York Times in a statement that “many” of the allegations against him are “not true,” but that he accepted “accountability” for his actions. “I am not cured of my PTSD and alcoholism. I am committed to doing what I need to do to recover, and I will forever be sorry to the people that I may have harmed along the way,” he said at the time, adding that he is in a 12-step program and therapy after being “abusive to myself and everyone around me for years.”
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