Shia LaBeouf was once recognized as a child star-turned-legit actor, but his erratic behavior always seemed to get in the way of his success. However, after explosive charges of abuse made by his ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs, the actor’s career took a downturn. The sad truth is that those who know about LaBeouf’s upbringing might say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His father, Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf, has a sordid criminal history of his own. Find out what we know about his past, and get the details of LaBeouf’s estrangement from him.
Shia LaBeouf And His Dad Had Been Estranged For Many Years
Whatever you think about Shia LaBeouf, one thing no one can deny is how candid he is about his dysfunctional past. He never hides the fact that his father, Jeffrey—a Vietnam vet—was a profound influence on him. Even during a seven-year stretch when they didn’t speak, Shia could always depend on his dad for motivation.
“The only thing my father gave me that was of any value to me is pain,” Shia told Interview in 2014. “The only time my dad will ever talk to me is when I need him at work. He knows to pick up the Skype phone call, and he knows what I’m looking for. It’s not to say ‘Hey, Dad.’ We manipulate each other. We service each other. I use him when I go to work. It’s not a real conversation; it’s just an excuse to rev up. He’s the marionette puppeteer. My dad is the key to most of my base emotions. My greatest and my worst memories are with my father, all my major trauma and major celebration came from him. It’s a negative gift. And I’m not ready to let go of it, because anger has a lot of power.”
Shia referenced actor Mel Gibson, saying he saw “magic in [his] rage” before going back to the topic of his father.
“I’d love to be closer to my dad,” he continued. “But we’ve got something going on between us that’s really valuable to me right now—more valuable to me than having a father.”
Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf Was In Prison For Attempted Rape
Shia has been fairly open about Jeffrey’s issues, but there’s more to his dad’s rap sheet than bad parenting and substance abuse. In October 2016, Daily Mail reported that Jeffrey had been on the lam for three years. His missing status stemmed from failing to register as a convicted sex offender.
Shia LaBeouf’s dad was jailed from 1981 to 1983 for attempted rape. And sadly, his time in prison did little to change his ways. According to a separate story from the Daily Mail, he was once accused of sexual harassment on the set of his son’s show, Even Stevens. The outlet also revealed that he allegedly assaulted a gay Disney executive after seeing the man give Shia a hug.
The publication discovered that Jeffrey was laying low in Costa Rica near Montezuma, a reputed destination for sex tourism. Prior to that, he lived in a remote mountain town in California, far from his last known registered address in Glendale.
Perhaps the distance was good for his son. Shia previously revealed that his childhood included accompanying Jeffrey to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. His father was also a heroin addict with a perchance for violence. In one horrific incident, the war vet had a flashback and pulled a gun on his son. It’s one of the many reasons the actor also owns a gun and sleeps with it to this day.
“I’ve always thought somebody was coming in,” he told Esquire in 2018. “My whole life.”
‘Honey Boy’ Was A Love Letter From Shia To Jeffrey
Shia LaBeouf was arrested in 2017 for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, and obstruction in Savannah, Georgia. A court-ordered rehab stint followed. It was there that he began to write the script for Honey Boy, his own biopic.
The film is a fictionalized exploration of Shia’s life away from the set of Even Stevens. During that time, he lived with Jeffrey out of a motel and rode to work on the back of his motorcycle. Disney paid his father to be his on-set guardian, but the senior LaBeouf did little to raise a well-adjusted child.
“There were drugs everywhere—marijuana, cocaine, heroin,” LaBeouf told Variety in 2016. “[My dad] gave me my first joint when I was probably 11 or 12.”
Shia was legally emancipated when he turned 15, but even if he was a free man on paper, Jeffrey kept him an emotional prisoner.
“Everything that’s in the film happened,” he told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. At the suggestion of Honey Boy’s director, Alma Har’el, he broke seven years of silence to reconnect with Jeffrey and share the film with him.
“He didn’t say much but he felt like I saw him, like I saw him,” the actor told Ellen DeGeneres in 2019. “I got him. He was very teary-eyed. It’s a love letter.”
LaBeouf changed his tune quite a bit in 2022 when he spoke once again about the film—this time claiming that the narrative was “f*cking nonsense.”
“My dad was so loving to me my whole life. Fractured, sure. Crooked, sure. Wonky, for sure. But never was not loving, never was not there. LaBeouf stated. “He was always there… and I’d done a world press tour about how f*cked he was as a man.”
“I turned the knob up on certain sh*t that wasn’t real,” said LaBeouf. “My dad never hit me, never. He spanked me once, one time. And the story that gets painted in Honey Boy is this dude is abusing his kid all the time…[the reality of my childhood] didn’t position me as this wounded, fractured child that you could root for, which is what I was using [my dad] for”.
Jeffrey Craig LaBeouf Is Very Candid With His Thoughts
While Shia initially stood by the accuracy of the film, Jeffrey had other thoughts. He spoke to Gen in November 2019 and gave a different account of the Even Stevens years.
“[Honey Boy] is a movie, and in order for it to sell tickets, it has to have drama and it has to have comedy and it has to have sex,” he said.
“I never hit Shia in the face,” Jeffrey continued. “I threw him in an overstuffed chair with my fist on his collar and raised my other fist and said, ‘Now you want to try me, you little punk?’ or something like that. In terms of being physical with him, when he was a baby or young boy, and he wanted to have a tantrum and scream and holler and cry, I would pick him up by one-foot upside down, and he would totally change. His demeanor would go to wonder and awe. And there was no need to spank him.”
Shia’s father claimed that he had no recollection of the attempted sexual assault that put him in jail. However, he does shamelessly corroborate his son’s claim that he’s his cash cow.
“He’s my honey boy, my money honey! [Laughs.] You betcha,” he said. “I’m down here on my own dime, but if my dime should wash up, they’ll pick up the tab.”
Just like his son, he takes some accountability for his actions.
“I’m not blaming my mistakes on anything,” he continued. “Nobody forced me to buy that fifth of Jack Daniels and half an ounce of cocaine and partake in those two substances so much that I was so f*cked up that I had no clue what I was doing. That’s all on me.”
What Is Jeffrey Craig Labeouf Doing Now?
Last year, the Daily Mail reported that changes to the sex offender registry would soon clear Jeffrey LaBeouf from the list. The outlet did not confirm his next moves but speculated that he would eventually return to his son’s side in California.
“I’m a man who has had tragedy and I’ve had extreme joy and well-being,” Jeffrey told Gen. “I’ve lived a long life. And it’s been an adventure, almost all of it, including being in the joint if you want to know the truth because it gave me some depth.”
“I’m not wanted for anything,” he said. “I squeak going around corners. But I got tired of dealing with Megan’s Law. A person commits a crime, and they’re on me for the rest of my life. I haven’t committed no crimes since 1980. Megan’s Law needs to look at itself. But people are going to believe what they’re going to believe.”