Shia LaBeouf is a renowned American actor who’s been in the spotlight for the better part of two decades. While he started acting on the Disney Channel in the early 2000s, his career blossomed into significant dramatic roles, and he later tried his hand at directing. Once on an upward career trajectory, Shia LaBeouf’s reputation has struggled in recent years following allegations leveled against him in a 2020 lawsuit by his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs.
Find out about Shia LaBeouf’s rock bottom mental health moment, other details of his mental health journey that he recently shared on the Jon Bernthal podcast REAL ONES and how his willingness to discuss his experience is paving the way for others to do the same.
Shia LaBeouf’s Career History
Shia LaBeouf is an American actor who’s been on-screen since 1998. However, his name became known in households across the country in the early 2000s when he appeared in the Disney Channel hit series Even Stevens as Louis Stevens, the pesky brother to Ren. The show ran until 2003, after which time LaBeouf made his way onto the big screen. He took a leading role in the massive franchise Transformers starting in 2007, where he played Sam Witwicky in the Michael Bay action films that continued until 2011. In 2015, he made waves in Sia’s music video for Elastic Heart alongside Maddie Ziegler.
Some of his recent notable film roles include playing John McEnroe in Borg vs. McEnroe in 2017 and Tyler in Peanut Butter Falcon in 2019. He also starred in the 2019 film Honey Boy, which is where he met FKA Twigs. Most recently, LaBeouf was central to the drama surrounding Olivia Wilde’s film Don’t Worry Darling, which he was originally set to star in. As he took a step back from the spotlight following the allegations of abuse against him in 2020, LaBeouf struggled with his mental health. He recently revealed how the lawsuit and fame have affected him on the REAL ONES podcast.
In His Own Words: Shia LaBeouf on Rock Bottom and Mental Health
Shia LaBeouf’s interview with Jon Bernthal was his most candid expression of the state of his mental health to date. On the REAL ONES podcast, the actor admitted to several of the accusations in the 2020 lawsuit filed by FKA Twigs. The lawsuit accuses LaBeouf of physical abuse against her, along with knowingly transmitting an STI to her. In conversation with Jon Bernthal, LaBeouf said he’s “cheat[ed] on every woman I’ve ever been with,” and that he knowingly didn’t tell his “sexual partners about getting cold sores.”
In regard to his transgressions, LaBeouf told Bernthal, “I was a pleasure-seeking, selfish, self-centered, dishonest, inconsiderate, fearful human being,” adding that there’s a “long list of people that I need to make amends to.”
In addition to owning up to his actions, LaBeouf shared on the podcast that the lawsuit, while challenging for him to navigate mentally, has forced him to make positive changes in his life. “Had she not intervened in my life and not created the avenue for me to experience ego death, I’d either have a really mediocre existence or I’d be dead in full.”
LaBeouf opened up about his rock bottom moment of considering suicide when news of the lawsuit and its allegations first broke in 2020. He said, “I went and loaded up a gun and sat on my table. I was gonna kill myself.”
The Connection Between Mental Health and Fame
Shia LaBeouf’s mental health journey has been many years in the making, but his most recent interview clarifies that he’s acutely aware of how his actions affected other people in his life. Being honest about how the publicity surrounding the lawsuit affected his mental health is an important commentary on how fame and mental health are inextricably linked. A study from the University of Sydney found that actors statistically experience higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress than the general population.
The study looked at 782 actors, 25% of whom reported having performance anxiety they described as debilitating. Forty percent of the participants said they struggled to let go of emotions they experienced during a demanding role. Approximately one-third of the actors said they consumed alcohol to cope with issues related to their performance work.
What Mental Health Conditions Has Shia LaBeouf Spoken About?
LaBeouf has struggled with alcohol addiction and his mental health for years, including an arrest for disorderly conduct in 2014 and several stints in rehab. He wrote the script for Honey Boy while in rehab and shared that he’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The work he’s done, in addition to what he calls an “ego death” following the 2020 lawsuit allegations, has led him to a better mental state where he feels confident in his knowledge of right and wrong. In an August 2022 letter to Olivia Wilde regarding the drama surrounding Don’t Worry Darling, LaBeouf wrote, “I write to you now with 627 days of sobriety and a moral compass that never existed before my great humbling that was the last year and a quarter of my life.”
Celebrities Continue the Important Conversation
Celebrities like Shia LaBeouf openly discussing their mental health struggles and treatment in the public eye is critical to reducing the stigma surrounding the topic. When actors or other celebrities use their platforms and interview opportunities, like appearing on a popular podcast, to share their story, they give other people permission to open up about their experiences.
Help Is Always Available
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction, bipolar disorder or suicidal thoughts, help is always available. At Restore Mental Health in South Florida, our compassionate team can be reached 24/7 at (877) 594-3566. We offer treatment for alcohol use disorder, which affects around 14.5 million Americans. We also have treatment programs for PTSD, depression, anxiety and more. Start the journey to recovery and change the way you live your life today.