Shia LaBeouf Discusses PTSD Diagnosis In Rehab, Public Drunkenness Arrest

By Victoria Kim 03/16/18

"I need to take ownership of my shit and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again."

Shia LaBeouf

Last July, actor Shia LaBeouf was arrested in Savannah, Georgia for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and obstruction. Video footage of the incident circulated like wildfire, and the actor entered court-ordered rehab in the fall.

Now, after completing his treatment program, the 31-year-old actor has resurfaced with a new interview in Esquire magazine.

His July arrest was far from his first, and LaBeouf has been to rehab for his drinking before. He acknowledged in a public apology last July that he had been “struggling with addiction publicly for far too long,” and vowed to do what he had to do to “[secure] my sobriety.”

In the Esquire interview, he appeared ready to work off a clean slate. “What went on in Georgia was mortifying,” he said. “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.”

LaBeouf looked back on his erratic behavior regretfully. “My public outbursts are failures. They’re not strategic. They’re a struggling motherfucker showing his ass in front of the world,” he said.

He revealed that he was diagnosed with PTSD in rehab. He recounted a traumatic incident he witnessed as a young child, where he overheard his mother, Shayna, being raped. He attributed the helplessness he felt when it came to protecting his mother, to his defensiveness and his “hair trigger for violence,” Esquire writer Eric Sullivan explained.

LaBeouf also revisited his relationship with his father in rehab. Jeffrey LaBeouf was a Vietnam War veteran who struggled with heroin addiction. When Shia landed a role on the popular Disney Channel series Even Stevens at the age of 13, he went to live with his father, who was then out of rehab.

He would go to the “Alano Club” 12-step program with his dad. “That was my daycare center. Then I’d go to work. That was my whole life,” said LaBeouf.

Despite their rocky relationship, “my dad handed me a lot, and his legacy was an emotional one,” said LaBeouf. “And it wasn’t scarring. He handed me texture. My dad blessed me that way.” He credits his dad with being “the whole reason I became an actor.”

He’s even written a screenplay about his father, which he finished in rehab. According to the plot, via The Black List: “A child actor and his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father attempt to mend their contentious relationship over the course of a decade.”

For now, while the actor is still viewed as a liability for feature films because of his erratic behavior, LaBeouf is getting back to acting in smaller projects. His new movie Borg vs. McEnroe, in which he stars as hotheaded tennis legend John McEnroe, will hit theaters in April.

"I’ve got to look at my failures in the face for a while,” said LaBeouf. “I need to take ownership of my shit 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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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr