Anyone who has followed Shia LaBeouf's career will know that the eccentric actor/artist has struggled with addiction, and after reading about his tragic childhood with a heroin addicted and abusive father, it's easy to empathize with his turbulent relationship with drugs and alcohol.
An only child, Shia was born and raised below the poverty line in Los Angeles, California and he credits his "hostile" upbringing for thrusting him into acting.
Raised by his mother, Shayna Saide, a ballet dancer and visual artist, and his father, Jeffrey LaBeouf, a Vietnam veteran who struggled with PTSD, LaBeouf's childhood was plagued by poverty which continued until he started earning money as a child actor to support his family.
In his adult life, LaBeouf has described him family as "hippies," although his father was far from the stereotypical image of flower power and peace signs. Shia has referred to him as "tough as nails and a different breed of man" and he recalls attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with his dad as a kid.
Shia's father's alcoholism and problems with harder drugs such as heroin fueled his violent behavior and he was both mentally and verbally abusive to the young Shia, who recalls one terrifying incident when his father held a gun to his head during a flashback to the war.
While his father was battling with addiction and attending rehab, his mother was trying her best to "hold down the fort" although money was so tight that LaBeouf was almost adopted by his uncle because he parents couldn't afford to care for him and "they had too much pride to go on welfare or food stamps."
His parents eventually divorced, mainly due to financial pressure, and young Shia coped with the emotional turmoil of the life changing separation by performing for his parents, often imitating his father. Although the divorce improved Shia's quality of life and he had what he described as a "good childhood" with his now single mother in Echo Park, money was always a constant strain and LaBeouf decided that becoming an actor could fix all that.
After meeting a child actor who had things that Shia wanted, he made a plan to become a performer, purely because he thought the financial gains could help his desperately broke family.
LaBeouf began touring his local neighborhood with a self-described "disgustingly dirty" comedy routine and, when he felt like he had honed his skills enough, he found an agent through the Yellow Pages and was taken on after pretending to be his own manager.
Shia got his big break when he was cast in Even Stevens, and despite the role being a potentially cringeworthy one to look back on as an adult, he has always remained grateful because he "grew up on that show" and being cast was the "best thing" that has ever happened to him. A statement that I think is best reflected by his face during the Even Stevens Movie in his recent #ALLMYMOVIES performance.
Despite his father's problems while LaBeouf was growing up, Shia never turned his back on his father, they remain close. He also helps financially support both of his parents now that he's made it big.
Actually adorable, Shia LaBeouf!