Shia LaBeouf has said that doctors diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder following his widely publicised arrest in Savannah, Georgia, last year.
In a wide-ranging interview in Esquire, the Transformers star added that his erratic behaviour over the past few years could stem from traumatic childhood experiences.
He reveals that when he was young he saw his mother becoming a victim of sexually abuse and once heard her being raped in the next room.
“I froze,” he said. “The man ran out, and my mom ran after him. Dave [a biker who lived next door to him] came running over. I remember he had a crossbow.”
The man fled, and was never apprehended for the crime, but LaBeouf says he was present when his mother was describing the incident at the police station.
“It was the first time I ever heard the word pubic. 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,” he said.
“When I got to rehab last year,” LaBeouf adds, “they said I had PTSD.
“The first time I got arrested with a real charge, it stemmed from the same s**t. 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!’
“So I went after the dude with a knife.”
He also added that he sleeps with a gun, having bought one as soon as he was old enough to do.
“I’ve always thought somebody was coming in. My whole life,” he said.
LaBeouf said that his meltdown in Savannah las year, in which he racially abused officers who had arrested him for drunken behaviour and public intoxication, was down to ‘white privilege’.
“What went on in Georgia was mortifying,” he says. “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 f**ked up.”
He was also asked about his past criticisms of the Transformers movies, for which he was thought to have made millions playing plucky hero Sam Witwicky.
“Michael [Bay] and Steven [Spielberg] did a lot for me. I’m not going to pooh-pooh those dudes anymore,” he says at first, before adding: “My hang-up with those films was that they felt irrelevant. They felt dated as f**k. You come up on these stories about Easy Rider and Raging Bull and De Niro and Scorsese and Hopper, and you find value in what they do.
“Meanwhile, you’re chasing energon crystals. It’s very hard to keep doing what you’re doing when you feel like it’s the antithesis of your purpose on this planet.”
Next up, LaBeouf is playing John McEnroe in the biopic Borg vs. McEnroe, about the legendary showdown at Wimbledon between the tennis rivals in 1980.
It’s due out next month.