Published Feb 13, 2019Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has been accused of emotional abuse, sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour by multiple women, including songwriter Phoebe Bridgers and ex-wife Mandy Moore.
A report from the New York Times cites interviews from seven women and more than a dozen associates that uncovered "a pattern of manipulative behaviour in which Adams dangled career opportunities while simultaneously pursuing female artists for sex."
The women expressed to the Times that Adams "would turn domineering and vengeful" when his advances were rejected, "jerking away his offers of support when spurned, and subjecting women to emotional and verbal abuse, and harassment in texts and on social media."
A woman appears in the Times piece under the name Ava. The publication has chosen a pseudonym for her because she allegedly started her online relationship with Adams in 2013 when she was only 14. According to the piece, the relationship allegedly became sexual and included video calls, where Adams would apparently expose himself to her on camera.
According to the Times, Adams questioned Ava about her age repeatedly. Sometimes she would say she was older than she was, though he wasn't convinced. In the piece, a message from Adams is quoted as saying, "i would get in trouble if someone knew we talked like this."
Adams' lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, said, "Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage."
Elsewhere in the story, Phoebe Bridgers recalled performing for Adams at the age of 20 after accepting an invite to his Pax-Am studio in 2014. After comparing her to Bob Dylan, Adams gifted her a vintage guitar. When she returned to record with him the next day, Adams proposed to release a 7-inch of her work through his label.
Adams reportedly soon began sending Bridgers flirty text messages, and the two began a romantic relationship. Bridgers told the Times that Adams began discussing marriage less than a week into the relationship and insisted that she open for him on a European tour. Adams allegedly told Bridgers' mother that having him look out for her was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Bridgers told the Times that Adams soon became emotionally abusive, as he "began barraging her with texts, insisting that she prove her whereabouts, or leave social situations to have phone sex, and threatening suicide if she didn't reply immediately."
She added that upon breaking off the relationship, Adams rescinded the offer to tour and became evasive about releasing her recordings. In 2017, Adams continued his pursuit by offering her an opening slot on tour that year. She accepted after discussing Adams' behaviour with her manager, telling the Times, "the first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room. I came upstairs and he was completely nude."
Through Brettler, Adams denied the hotel room incident and described his relationship with Bridgers as "a brief, consensual fling." Adams added that he did not recall any flirty texts and denied telling Bridgers he would withhold her music.
Moore spoke to the Times about Adams discouraging her from working with other producers or managers, writing songs together that they would never record, and booking them time at his studio to replace her with other female artists. She added, "He would always tell me, 'You're not a real musician, because you don't play an instrument.'"
Moore released her sixth album shortly after they wed in 2009. She finalized her divorce with Adams in 2016 and has yet to release a follow-up LP.
"His controlling behaviour essentially did block my ability to make new connections in the industry during a very pivotal and potentially lucrative time — my entire mid-to-late 20s," she said.
Through Brettler, Adams called Moore's recollections "completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship," adding that he was supportive of her "well-deserved professional success."
Adams also denied the Times' "extremely serious and outlandish accusations" in their reporting through Brettler. The lawyer added that Adams remembered the interactions with the women differently, describing some of the allegations as "grousing by disgruntled individuals."