Shia LaBeouf rose to Disney fame back in 2000 when he landed his life-changing role on Even Stevens. The show lasted three seasons, by Shia was a bonafide A-lister by 2007 thanks to his starring role in the very successful Transformers franchise. But child actors have kind of got a bad reputation, and Shia LaBeouf is the perfect example of the stereotypical child star gone rogue.
Shia charmed audiences as the adorable yet mischievous Louis Stevens on Disney Channel, but rising to the top came at a price. The charismatic actor grew up really fast in a demanding and stressful industry, and at times, it turned him into a monster.
Shia admitted that he was certainly not prepared for the fame he gained at such a young age and admitted that’s probably one of the reasons for the downfall of his career. Shia is known around Hollywood for being unpredictable and unstable, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a naturally talented boy, gifted in performance.
Coming from a family of entertainers, Shia LaBeouf was destined for stardom. However, fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. On top of the constant pressure of the cut-throat industry, Shia felt even more compelled to succeed in order to support his family. That’s right; while little Shia was on Disney, he was the breadwinner of his family.
From his childhood and talent to his antics and arrests, this is the rollercoaster ride that is Shia LaBeouf’s life.
Shia LaBeouf was born into a family of entertainers. His mother was a ballet dancer, and his father was a mime and clown. Sure, it may seem like a fun environment for the future star to grow up in, but Shia admitted that his father was part of a “toxic” biker gang that put him in jail and out of the house.
Shia opened up to GQ about his childhood and revealed that when he was about nine years old, “his father disappeared for a few years,” and his mom had to enroll young Shia in the Big Brothers program, and he got paired with a stuntman. Thanks to his “big brother’s” job, Shira would often go to film sets, and that’s where he decided he was going to become a huge star.
Pretty Weird Parents
As we mentioned, Shia LaBeouf’s mother, Shayna, was a ballet dancer before becoming a visual artist and jewelry designer. His father, Jeffrey Craig, was a veteran of the Vietnam war and managed to hold down a variety of jobs. Shia described his parents as hippies and “pretty weird people.”
I mean, Shia would frequently go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with his father as a child. Yeah, that’s a strange family dynamic if I’ve ever seen one. But this is nothing! Wait until you see how bizarre this family actually was.
WTF Is Right
So, how peculiar was it to be raised in the LaBeouf household? Well, perhaps this will give you a little insight: his parents would dress up like clowns outside of their apartment to sell hotdogs. I can’t blame two parents for doing whatever it takes to make ends meet.
His family life doesn’t surprise me much, though. I mean, Shia LaBeouf is a strange dude; he must have gotten it from somewhere. For example, the actor has two tattoos of Missy Elliot on his knees but admits that he’s not a big fan of the female rapper. See, it’s weird.
His father, as you might have been able to tell by those Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, also abused substances during LaBeouf’s childhood and even went to rehab for extreme drug addiction. After his parents split up, the family went through financial troubles.
His parents refused to go on welfare since they were too embarrassed. Therefore, his uncle almost adopted him. It definitely would have been a good thing for Shia to have grown up out of that house, but ultimately, his parents wouldn’t let him live there.
His First Love Was Comedy
Luckily Shia had one thing that helped him deal with all those hardships: comedy. He loved to perform and do imitations of his father to entertain his family. Now that he is famous for those innocent performances, LaBeouf supports both of his parents.
When he was just ten years old, LeBeouf started performing at comedy clubs. He said the reason he was so appealing to the audience was because he had a “50-year-old mouth on [a] 10-year-old kid.” Yeah, I can definitely see how the crowd would enjoy that.
How Old is Shia LaBeouf?
Shia also opened up about how “his father disappeared for a few years” when he was about nine years old. That’s when, as we mentioned, his mother was left to enroll her son in the Big Brother program. Shia got paired with a stuntman which allowed the youngster to dream. He wanted to make it big.
When he was about 11 years old, the future star flipped through the Yellow Pages and called an agent raving about “the phenomenal Shia LeBeouf,” clarifying that he was “Big in England.” The woman on the phone knew he was lying but signed the aspiring actor anyways. She even “paid for his rent and headshots” – and got him the Even Stevens gig! Considering the actor is 35 today, this all happened over two decades ago. Do you feel old? Because I certainly do.
Shia’s Aggressive Streak
Since his father was in and out of Shia’s life growing up, the actor didn’t always have a father figure there. But when his dad was around, it meant that Shia was exposed to all kinds of volatile incidents. For example, when Shia landed the role on Even Stevens, the actor was a minor and needed supervision on set.
Shia hired his dad, and the two stayed in a “$60 a night hotel called the Motel Vista for three years.” The actor added, “I remember my dad would get in fights with a pimp who had his prostitute next door. And he was trying to taser the guy because he wouldn’t pay for one of his prostitutes. My dad was a hothead back then.”
Becoming His Father
Unfortunately for the star, it appears as though he inherited his father’s wild streak. GQ reported that when the actor was 19, “a neighbor… insulted his mother and rear-ended her car,” causing LaBeouf to get “a knife, [bring] a friend for backup, and [go] to the guy’s apartment, where he wound up getting jumped by the guy and six of his friends.
Ultimately, Shia knows his upbringing wasn’t the most stable: “I come from drama,” the star confessed to Dazed. “I come from fu**ing joylessness; I come from three people in a fu**ing room trying to be everything to each other. And we just couldn’t do it.”
Drinking and Driving
Throughout his career, Shia spent a lot of time in the tabloids… and it hasn’t always been for the most flattering reasons. Case in point: getting busted for drunk driving. Back in 2008, the actor was arrested after an early morning car accident that left him with a hand and knee injury.
His pickup collided with another vehicle, and it caused his car to roll over, according to authorities. “It was immediately apparent to officers responding on the scene that LaBeouf was intoxicated, and he was subsequently placed under arrest,” said Sgt. Scott Wolf. Fortunately for the actor, he was “released for a misdemeanor DUI.”
What Happened to Shia LaBeouf?
As car accidents go, it’s safe to say Shia was very lucky. However, this wasn’t the first time he was intoxicated in public. The year before, Shia had a drunken altercation with the security guards at a Walgreens in Chicago.
According to Today, he was disruptive and refused to leave after he was asked to “several times.” When he wouldn’t leave the drugstore, police got involved. However, the actor got off easy yet again and was “cited on a misdemeanor count of trespassing.”
It’s not rare for celebrities to get a pass when it comes to the law, but Shia definitely didn’t learn his lesson. The most concerning aspect of Shia’s behavior is perhaps his light-hearted mentality to otherwise dangerous and uncomfortable situations.
“I went nuts,” Shia joked on The Late Show With David Letterman. “I got really wasted… I wound up celebrating in Walgreens.” He added, “Drinking and driving is one thing, but drinking and shopping… [that’s] just as bad.” He just doesn’t seem to care or understand that his drinking habits are a real problem.
His Raw Honesty
Considering Shia’s relationship with the press isn’t exactly positive, the actor should probably consider keeping some of his personal comments to himself. When the long-awaited Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull was finally released, starring Shia LaBeouf as Harrison Ford’s son, longtime fans of the series were a little disappointed.
That’s when the Los Angeles-born actor decided to take it upon himself to make his opinions clear. He didn’t hold back – even if it offended the movie’s critically acclaimed director, Steven Spielberg.
Spielberg Needs to Hear This!
“I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished,” Shia explained to The Los Angeles Times. “We [Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf] had major discussions. He wasn’t happy with it either. Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted.”
Ouch! When the actor was asked if he thought those words would hurt Spielberg, Shia bluntly said, “He needs to hear this. I love him. I love Steven. I have a relationship with Steven that supersedes our business work.” Okay, Steven Spielberg is that last person who needs to hear directing advice from Shia—just saying.
The Director’s Reaction
So, I’m sure your wondering, how did Spielberg react to Shia’s interview with The Los Angeles Times? Well, first, the director cut the actor out of the fifth installment of the beloved series. The Hollywood Reporter said that Shia’s comments destroyed his relationship with the director.
“He told me there’s a time to be a human being and have an opinion, and there’s time to sell cars. It brought me freedom, but it also killed my spirits because this was a dude I looked up to like a sensei.” Sorry, Shia. Maybe keep your mouth shut next time.
Several Drunken Fights
It’s clear that Shia LaBeouf has a drinking problem, and it resulted in more than just DUIs. It disrupted many of the actor’s nights out. According to RadarOnline, the Transformers star was involved in a huge bar fight in Vancouver in October 2011.
“He got into a confrontation with a couple of people,” a witness told the publication. “He took a few punches to the face. He was obviously pretty intoxicated,” they explained. They added that after the actor and another patron were kicked up, Shia got knocked to the ground with “at least three punches.”
TMZ released information a few months earlier that the actor was in yet another brawl, this time in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Shia LaBeouf was punched in the face and ended up in handcuffs. By 2014, the reckless star traveled internationally for another fight, headbutting a dude in a London pub.
TMZ claimed that he was in a “pretty rough part of town,” but unfortunately for Shia, the entire incident is on video. By 2019, the actor seemed a little different. “I’m just smiling a lot more,” he told the Variety podcast The Big Ticket. “I’ve gotten softer; things have calmed down.” Finally!
Kissing and Telling
Shia’s reckless behavior and alcohol abuse issues aren’t the only shady aspects of the actor’s personality. In 2011, Shia LeBeouf spilled some juicy gossip to Details (via CBS News), claiming that he hooked up with Megan Fox, his Transformers co-star. So, what’s the problem?
Well, Megan may have already been in a relationship with Brian Green, her boyfriend at the time and now-ex-husband. “Look, you’re on the set for six months, with someone who’s rooting to be attracted to you, and you’re rooting to be attracted to them,” the actor bluntly said.
Is Shia LaBeouf Married?
When the publication asked Shia if his former co-star was already with Green at the time, the actor deflected with, “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.” He added that “it was, it was.” Wow! It boggles my mind how this guy really doesn’t know when he has to zip it!
The timing of his revelation was horrible, according to Hollywood Life, which claimed that the couple was separated at the time but still trying to make their relationship work. I guess you can count on Shia to get in the way. Shia, himself, has never been married.
As it turns out, Megan Fox wasn’t the only wandering-eyed starlet when it came to Shia LaBeouf. During the same interview Shia did with Details, the actor also admitted to hooking up with his Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen co-star, Isabel Lucas, while the actress was dating Adrien Grenier.
In Shia’s defense, he did tell the entire world about his infatuations. In 2008, the star told GQ, “Oh, I’ve been in love with every woman I’ve ever worked with.” So, yeah. We can’t say he didn’t give us a fair warning.
He Was Actually Tripping
It may just be a case of some serious method acting, but it can also come across as totally insane! Back in 2014, Shia LaBeouf’s The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman co-star, Rupert Grint, told The Guardian what it took for LeBeouf to get into the role of a character high on LSD.
The Harry Potter star explained that LaBeouf actually took powerful hallucinogenic drugs: “He smashed the place up, got naked and kept seeing this owl. If anything will make you not do drugs, it’s watching that.”
Getting Into Character
If you know anything about Shia, Grint’s story shouldn’t really come as a surprise; it certainly wasn’t the first time the actor took a role a little too seriously. In an interview with Dazed, he admitted to some of the over-the-top things he did to get into character for the drama-action flick, Fury.
“Fury is the most meat I’ve ever had to chew on… the day after I got the job, I joined the U.S. National Guard. I was baptized – accepted Christ in my heart – tattooed my surrender and became a chaplain’s assistant to Captain Yates for the 41st Infantry.”
It may seem like he took this character a little too far, but the surreal retelling goes on: “I spent months living on a forward operating base. Then I linked up with my cast and went to Fort Irwin. I pulled my tooth out, knifed my face up, and spent days watching horses die. I didn’t sleep for months.”
Well, that sounds incredibly traumatic. So, did the method acting pay off? Fury did relatively well. As for his movie with Grint… Let’s just say there is a reason you probably never heard of it.
He Got Caught Plagiarizing
Shia LaBeouf released his self-directed, “self-penned” short film entitled HowardCantour.com back in 2003. The actor showcased his flick at the Cannes Film Festival, and it generally earned positive reviews, according to IndieWire.
As the publication wrote, “LaBeouf’s memorable short is ultimately a surprisingly successful movie on the experience of watching a movie that should only serve to encourage LaBeouf to further test the directorial waters.” That all sounds great and dandy, right? Unfortunately for the star, he didn’t get to relish in any sort of success.
Buzzfeed broke the news that Shia’s movie was “almost a direct adaptation” of Justin M. Damiano, a 2007 comic written and drawn by famed artist Daniel Clowes. As the outlet put it: “Nowhere in the promotion for or credits of the film does LaBeouf mention the Clowes comic. Eric Reynolds, longtime editor of Clowes’ comics and associate publisher at Fantagraphics, called the film ‘shameless theft.’”
Yikes! Plagiarism definitely won’t look good on his directorial resume. If you think things couldn’t get worse, they absolutely did.
From Bad to Worse
Shia LaBeouf said sorry in the most celebrity way – through Twitter, of course. The actor tweeted out his apologies which raised even more eyebrows since they were also copied! According to Wired, Shia’s Tweet on plagiarism was actually plagiarized from a few-year-old post on Yahoo Answers.
If there is one person who doesn’t learn from his mistakes, it’s Shia LaBeouf. It makes you wonder what the actor’s true intentions were. When he was caught red-handed, Shia posted a photo that made fun of Clowes and continued to reproduce his work. Ultimately, the novelist’s legal team sent a cease-and-desist letter to Shia, which he also shared on social media.
Hannibal Lecter? No, It’s Shia LaBeouf
In June 2014, Shia LaBeouf ended the month in an extremely bizarre way−one that ended up with the actor showing quite the resemblance to a particular character in The Silence of the Lambs. Okay, let’s start at the beginning.
It was initially reported by Page Six that LaBeouf started a public tirade by chasing a homeless man around Times Square in New York City, demanding that his paper McDonald’s bag be handed back to him. I’m sure McDonald’s would have given him a new one, but it’s Shia. He needed to cause a scene.
It’s Just a Bag
“He really wanted whatever was in that bag. He had so much focus… if there were French fries in the bag, maybe he really wanted to eat them,” a witness told Page Six. A few hours later, the same outlet reported another incident in which the actor went to the Broadway Cabaret musical where he “was slapping people on the behind and in the back of the head while smoking” inside the theater.
When cops arrived to escort the actor, he was “incoherent” and “very agitated” and ended up being hauled outside in handcuffs.
Shia LaBeouf Was Muzzled
The best part was that Shia was also muzzled for spitting at the officers. You would think that he would learn from his mistakes, but as we established, learning a lesson isn’t Shia’s specialty. It didn’t take long for the actor to get in trouble again.
A few days later, TMX reported that this time, Shia LaBeouf managed to get himself banned from The Local Peasant in Sherman Oaks, Calif. In the middle of his 4-hour visit, he got up to go to the parking lot in the back of the restaurant, where he proceeded to urinate on their wall.
His Artistic Apology
In order to publicly apologize for his highly publicized plagiarism scandal, Shia LaBeouf created a performance art piece in 2014 called #IAMSORRY. This piece involved Shia sitting in a room with a paper bag over his head and inviting the public to come in one by one.
Time reporter Ryan Sandoval wrote that when he went inside, he was asked to choose an item on the table. He went on to explain, “The options: a whip pliers, a bowl of Hershey kisses, a copy of Daniel Clowes’ Death Ray, a pink ukulele, a bottle of Brut cologne, an Optimus Prime toy and a bowl of about 100 paper slips bearing typed messages.” If you don’t count the whip, it sounds pretty harmless.
So Many Questions
Not exactly. Months later, Shia made a horrifying claim: “One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me.”
He went on, “On top of that, my girl was in line to see me… it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it traveled through the line. When she came in, she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently.” The scenario raises all sorts of questions, and I’m not sure I want to know the answers.
Disturbing the Peace… Again
Shia LaBeouf was involved in another out-of-control incident in July 2017, and this one was downright disturbing. According to TMZ, the actor was spotted walking in Georgia when he stopped two people to ask for a cigarette.
When the first person said no, LaBeouf unleashed a verbal outburst in front of children. Clearly, someone can’t take no for an answer. The next person to deny Shia was a police officer. The actor apparently, “ran to a nearby hotel” to evade arrest. Unfortunately, the arrest did end up happening in the lobby.
Throwing Another Tantrum
Believe it or not, things got worse. Following his arrest, Shia LaBeouf was put in the backseat of a car, and there was a video of him screaming obscenities at two police officers. As The Telegraph described it, the actor was particularly rude to the Black police officer and went on a racist rant:
“You’ve got a president who don’t give a sh*t about you, and you’re stuck in a police force that don’t give a f*ck about you. So, you want to arrest white people who give a f*ck, who ask for cigarettes?” I don’t think asking for a cigarette was the issue here, Shia.
Unsurprisingly, the actor was bailed out soon enough. However, after all his antics, this moment left a very uncomfortable mark on his career. His behavior was totally uncalled for. The following year, Shia spoke out about the situation during an interview with Esquire.
“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.” He then admitted, “I f*cked up.” Finally! Shia saw the errors in his ways.
Threatened to Kill a Restaurant Customer
In 2013, Shia was dining at a restaurant in London when a fan asked the actor for an autograph. Let’s just say the fangirl immediately regretted her request. The poor fan was left in tears after Shia rudely refused to sign anything for her. Sure, it must be annoying to be recognized everywhere, but that’s the price of fame. He could have been a little nicer.
However, the young lady’s boyfriend reportedly confronted the actor, and soon enough, the matter escalated into a physical altercation. As security hauled him away, Shia allegedly said, “I can get you killed,” to the gentleman standing up for his girlfriend.
I Am Not Famous Anymore
At the premiere of Nymphomaniac, Shia decided he was no longer famous and announced his self-defamation in a strange way. He showed up to the red carpet with a brown bag over his head that had the phrase “I Am Not Famous Anymore” written on it in a black Sharpie.
I wonder if this is what he desperately needed to get that paper bag back from that homeless guy. Either way, the bag would reappear later at his #IAMSORRY exhibit (remember that?): Shia’s artistic apology and where he may or may not have been sexually harassed.
The Silent Interview
Shia agreed to do an in-depth interview with Aimee Cliff, but there was a catch. He would only do the interview if it was conducted through email. Because of their deal, the two had a “silent interview” where both parties sat for two hours with Go Pros strapped to their heads, not saying a word.
“So, I’m present in the magazine only in words obtained digitally, and online I’m present only through a mute physical presence,” the actor wrote in one of the emails. “And the reality of my self lies somewhere between and beyond the two. It’s thoroughly metamodern, I think.” Yeah, whatever that means.
Beef With Alec Baldwin
Shia LaBeouf is what many people would consider “difficult to work with.” It looks like the fame really got to his head because the actor is extremely entitled, which is probably why he can’t stop fighting with people.
Fellow celebrities are no exception. Shia dropped out of the Broadway production of Orphans because he couldn’t get along with his co-star, Alec Baldwin. Apparently, it all started with Shia criticizing the actor. “My whole goal was to intimidate the f*ck out of Baldwin,” he admitted, adding that he wanted Baldwin “to be scared.”
And More Plagiarism
As a natural-born performer, Shia LaBeouf never fails to find new ways to entertain audiences. Shia went viral with a video of him shirtless and rapping. It looked like he was freestyling lyrics. However, as it turned out, those rhymes were just another example of Shia’s plagiarism.
Pro the Honeydark, an MC and music producer (part of a rap group called the Anomalies), called out Shia LaBeouf, saying: “You can’t rip songs from my Anomalies crew, recite them in a freestyle as your own, then not expect to be called out by ACTUAL MCs! This is straight disrespect to lyricism.”