The musician has called a new report “upsettingly inaccurate”
Ryan Adams has denied claims from several women, including one who was underage at the time, of emotional and psychological abuse, harassment, inappropriate and manipulative behaviour, and more.
A report from the New York Times features accounts from artists including Phoebe Bridgers and Adams’ ex-wife Mandy Moore among others. Through his lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, Adams denied the “extremely serious and outlandish accusations” that he claimed were “grousing by disgruntled individuals” who blamed him for “personal or professional disappointments.”
Bridgers said in the report that she met the singer-songwriter in 2014, and he invited her to his studio. He later discussed putting out a record with Bridgers but, according to the musician, began sending her flirty texts, which led to a short relationship.
According to Bridgers, Adams discussed marriage within less than a week of the pair being together and told her she could open for him on his European tour. The Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center star said that he soon became obsessive and emotionally abusive, asking her to prove where she was and leaving events to have phone sex, threatening suicide if she didn’t reply straight away.
After Bridgers broke up with him, she said he became evasive about releasing music with her and no longer wanted her to support him on tour. He later released three of her tracks on his label Pax-Am in 2015. Adams reportedly still offered her opportunities including supporting him on tour in 2017, which Bridgers agreed to do in order to promote her music before she released her debut album. She said she discussed his behaviour with her manager before accepting.
“[On] the first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room,” she told the paper. “I came upstairs and he was completely nude.”
Two other female singer-songwriters said they had experienced similar patterns of behaviour from Adams. They asked not to be identified for fear of retribution.
Through his lawyer, Adams disputed how Bridgers described their relationship, saying it was a “brief, consensual fling” and that he did not recall sending any flirty texts to her. He also rejected the claim that he had told the musician that he would withhold her songs and denied the hotel room incident.
Adams’ ex-wife Moore has also accused him of being psychologically abusive. In 2010, one year after they got married, Adams offered to work on Moore’s next album and, although she said they wrote songs together regularly, his promises to record them never came to fruition. She claimed that he booked time in the studio but then replaced her with other female artists.
Moore said he would tell her she wasn’t a “real musician, because [she doesn’t] play an instrument.” After she parted company with her then-manager, he also allegedly discouraged her from working with other producers or managers. “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 divorced him in 2016.
Through his lawyer, Adams said Moore’s characterisations were “completely inconsistent with his view of their relationship” and that he had been happy to help her career and hadn’t stopped her from working with other people.
A budding musician identified only as Ava said she began talking to Adams online in 2013, when she was 14. They never met in person but she claimed the musician would send her graphic texts and once exposed himself to her during a video call.
In messages reviewed by the Times, Adams asked the teenager to keep their conversations secret and asked her repeatedly to tell him she was 18, sometimes asking her to show him ID, which she never did although she said she sometimes told him she was older than she was. When Ava was 16, he texted her saying: “I never see pics of you anymore. You were blowing my mind.” He reportedly also had pet names for her body parts.
Another message allegedly read: “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol.” According to the Times, he then messaged her 10 minutes later, saying: “I just want you to touch your nipple.”
Ava said Adams had discussed her career with her, suggesting when they first began talking that she start a band with another teenager and that he would produce them. Towards the end of the relationship, she said he brought up the idea of recording together again but she didn’t pursue it as she had been put off of being a musician.
Through his lawyer, Adams said he does have “communications online with various fans and aspiring musicians” but “does not recall having online communications with anyone related to anything outside of music.” His lawyer added that he was unaware of Ava being underage, suggesting that she looked “approximately 20” in photos at the time and had performed in clubs.
Brettler said: “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage.”
Another musician called Courtney Jaye said she met Adams in 2013, when she was 35, after he sent her a direct message on Twitter and asked her to collaborate with him. She said when they met up to work on ideas they had been discussing, he began making comments on her appearance. According to Jaye, she tried to shut down his passes but ended up in bed with him, although they did not have sex. She said she told him how she felt about his actions in a phone call afterwards.
Brettler said the pair had “never had a writing session where they ended up in bed” and denied the phone conversation took place.
Adams’ ex-fiancée Megan Butterworth said he was controlling and emotionally abusive, claiming he had tried to tell her who see could socialise or work with, and would physically intimidate her or break things. She said he had never hit her.
After she broke up with him in 2018, she said he sent her hundreds of messages, phone calls, and emails in which he would sometimes threaten suicide or to file lawsuits against her. Through his lawyer, Adams disputed that he behaved in a controlling or physically intimidating manner towards her.
Both Capitol Records, through whom Adams is scheduled to release three albums this year, and his former manager John Silva declined to comment on the allegations.
After the report was published, Adams took to Twitter and apologised “deeply and unreservedly” to anyone he had “ever hurt, however unintentionally”, but called the article “upsettingly inaccurate”.
“Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false,” he wrote. “I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period.”
He added that he was “resolved to work to be the best man [he] can be” and wished “everyone compassion, understanding and healing.”