Shia LaBeouf Reveals The Heartbreaking Childhood Memory That Gave Him PTSD

He said he overheard his mother being raped.

Shia LeBeouf Getty Images

In the first interview since his arrest for public drunkenness, Shia LeBeouf said he suffers from PTSD as a result of a traumatic childhood memory. 

Shia told Esquire that when he was nine, his father, Jeffrey left for rehab to treat his heroin addiction. He asked his neighbor, Dave, to keep an eye on his family. 

The actor said it didn't help, and one day he overheard a man raping his mother. 

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“I froze,” Shia said. “The man ran out, and my mom ran after him. Dave came running over. I remember he had a crossbow.” 

The rapist had fled and got away. During a counseling session, he said he listened to his mother recount what her attacker looked like. 

“It was the first time I ever heard the word pubic,” he said. “That’s how she described his facial hair. The next day at school, I told some kid that his hair looked like pubic hair, and I remember getting in trouble. They never found the guy."

Shia said he was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which stemmed from that incident. 


He recently went to rehab after his public arrest last July in Savannah. 

"The first time I got arrested with a real charge, it stemmed from the same sh**,” he said in the interview. “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!’"

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"So I went after the dude with a knife. … I’ve always thought somebody was coming in. My whole life.”

Shia said he also had a rocky relationship with his dad, who struggled with an addiction to heroin. He says he turned to alcohol to get through his issues from his childhood. 


"My way of running is to drink,” he admitted. “I’m a good old-fashioned drunk — whiskey and beer — and have been since I touched alcohol.”

Despite all of that, Shia said he's not willing to give up. 


"I’ve got to look at my failures in the face for a while,” he said. “I need to take ownership of my sh** and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again, so I’m trying to stay creative and learn from my mistakes."

"I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life. The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.”

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).