In Holes, actor Shia LaBeouf played Stanley Yelnats: a boy falsely accused of stealing shoes and sentenced to dig holes. It was a star-making turn for LaBeouf as he transitioned from Disney’s Even Stevens show into a film. But, it turns out, LaBeouf had really committed that crime when he was 9 years old. It was his first arrest.
In the coming years, he would be arrested 10 more times.
Shia LaBeouf opened up about his childhood arrests in an essay for the 2015 anthology Prison Ramen. In his essay, entitled “Error Breeds Sense,” the actor said he was first arrested in Pacoima, California at age 9. In 1996, he stole a pair of Nike Cortezes from a local shop and was held for six hours.
No wonder he connected to Holes character Stlaney Yalnats.
This petty crime is not so surprising considering LaBeouf’s infamous backstory. His semi-autobiographical film Honey Boy, released in 2019, chronicles LaBeouf’s rocky childhood as he began acting while living under the care of his father, an alcoholic who struggled with PTSD. In Honey Boy, his dad is portrayed as explicitly abusive although LaBeouf later walked back those claims.
Stealing a Gameboy
In the same essay, “Error Breeds Sense,” Shia LaBeouf said he was arrested again in 1998 after trying to shoplift a Gameboy Pokémon from K-Mart. He was also held for about six hours that time, too.
Stabbing His Neighbor
Shia LaBeouf also addressed a more serious incident in “Error Breeds Sense.” In 2007, he got into a fight with his neighbor in Van Nuys — and attempted to stab him. LaBeouf spent two days in jail for the crime. “While I was there, I at least understood that being in jail is not the move. It sucks ass,” he wrote.
The same year as the fight with his neighbor, Shia LaBeouf was arrested at a Chicago Walgreens. The Transformers star refused to leave the store in the middle of the night, eventually getting tackled by security. He spent the night in a CPD holding cell. It was his 21st birthday.
Talking about the altercation with David Letterman in 2008, LaBeouf admitted that he was “on the sauce” and that the security guard “was completely in the right. I was a moron.”
In 2008, Shia LaBeouf, then 22, was arrested for drunk driving after getting into an accident in Los Angeles. No one was hurt, but LaBeouf was booked for a misdemeanor DUI.
A Bar Fight
In 2011, Shia LaBeouf got into a bar fight at Mad Bull’s Tavern in Sherman Oaks, California. LaBeouf got punched in the face. LAPD arrived an handcuffed both parties, although no charges were pressed and the men were released on-site.
One of Shia LaBeouf’s most infamous escapades took place at a Broadway showing of Cabaret in 2014. As the show started, LaBeouf was smoking cigarettes inside the theater and shouting out obscenities. He even slapped Cabaret star Alan Cumming’s butt as he walked by. LaBeouf was arrested during intermission and remained disorderly throughout the process, reportedly shouting out, “This is f–king bullshit! Do you know my life? Do you know who I am?” and spitting on the officers. He was eventually muzzled.
It’s a pretty gnarly story, which LaBeouf himself told best on Jimmy Kimmel. “You seem to have gone crazy since the last time I saw you,” Jimmy Kimmel bluntly began the interview. And the rest of their talk is equally frank. Watch it above.
In 2015, Shia LaBeouf was arrested on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas — the Dirty Sixth. According to TMZ, he was running down the street “either extremely drunk or high on drugs.” Cops handcuffed LaBeouf who was taken to Travis County Jail and soon released.
A Political Protest
In early 2017, Shia LaBeouf was arrested at the site of his anti-Trump art installation in Queens, #HeWillNotDivideUs. As LaBeouf filmed a selfie video at the event, a man in the frame with him addresses the camera directly, saying, “Hitler did nothing wrong” … which enraged LaBeouf. The actor grabbed the man by his scarf and pushed him to the ground.
LaBeouf was arrested and held overnight, though all the charges were eventually dropped. When he left jail in the morning, flashing the “rock on” sign to cameras.
More Drunken Disorder
In July 2017, Shia LaBeouf was arrested again. This time, in Georgia for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and obstruction. LaBeouf apparently went ballistic after a stranger refused to give him a cigarette and ran to a nearby hotel, where he was taken into custody. He was released after posting $7,000 bond.
Although this kind of episode seemed somewhat standard for LaBeouf at the time, what took place in Georgia had a deeper effect on the actor, than 31. He opened up about the experience in a 2018 Esquire feature, aptly titled “Shia LaBeouf Is Ready To Talk About It.” As the reporter Eric Sullivan delineates, LaBeouf’s priorities shifted after the Georgia arrest. At least, according to the actor:
“What went on in Georgia was mortifying. White privilege and desperation and disaster… It came from a place of self-centered delusion… It was me trying to absolve myself of guilt for getting arrested… I fucked up.”— Shia LaBeouf in Esquire
LeBoeuf also thanked the Georgia officer who arrested him in an awards speech for Honey Boy and credited him with saving his life.
However, after all this so-called growth, LaBeouf’s ex-FKA twigs leveled some serious claims of abuse against the actor.
In late 2020, pop star FKA twigs, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, sued Shia LaBeouf for sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit also included information about LaBeouf’s alleged abuse of another ex, stylist Karolyn Pho.
FKA twigs details some of those claims in a bombshell interview with The New York Times. She said that in 2019 was driving recklessly and threatening to crash the car “unless she professed her love for him.” The situation escalated to the point that LaBeouf threw her against the car at a gas station. She also said that LaBeouf knowingly gave her an STD.
In response, LaBeouf made a statement to the paper acknowledging that he’d been “abusive” to both himself and those around him “for years” and that he was “ashamed” and “sorry.” However, he later denied the allegations.
A trial is set for April 23, 2023.
Cleaning Up His Act?
After the split from FKA twigs, Shia LeBeouf briefly dated actress Margaret Qualley who later said she believed FKA twigs’ claims. Now, LeBeouf has reunited with his ex-wife Mia Goth.
LeBoeuf and Mia Goth met on the set of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac in 2012, and remained together until 2018, officially tying the knot in 2016. Then, in 2021, they reunited publicly — and Mia Goth showed a baby bump. Their daughter Isabel was born in March 2022.
Soon after, LaBeouf opened up about the experience of fatherhood on the podcast Real Ones. Speaking to host Jon Bernthal, LaBeouf said that although they’d been estranged for two years, Mia Goth had reached back out to him while he was in rehab in the wake of the allegations.
“She saved my f—king life… She was present for me at a time when I didn’t deserve to have nobody in my life, especially her,” LaBeouf said, adding that Mia Goth runs now their home like the “ultimate parole officer,” holding him accountable for his actions.
The actor also gushed about the joys of having a daughter while acknowledging that, eventually, their relationship will be complicated by his past:
“There’s a lot I need to work on. Having a daughter and knowing that your daughter is one day gonna search your name in a search engine and see that you are a deplorable, disgusting piece of s–t, that s–t hits… I have now until she’s literate to create a relationship with her where she knows me more than this idea of who I am in the public.”— Shia LaBeouf on Real Ones, as quoted by Page Six