Ryan Adams has been accused of abuse and sexual misconduct by several women, including one who was underage during their communication, his ex-wife Mandy Moore, and Phoebe Bridgers, in a new New York Times feature.
The Times reviewed over 3000 text messages allegedly exchanged between Adams and "Ava," a musician who was 15 and 16 years old during the nine months when the texts were sent. In the messages, Adams often worried over Ava's age, and made explicit and sexual comments:
“I never see pics of you anymore,” Adams wrote in November 2014, when he had just turned 40 and Ava was newly 16. “You were blowing my mind.” He had pet names for her body parts.
Days later, Adams expressed anxiety: “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol,” he wrote.
Yet within 10 minutes, the conversation again turned explicit. “I just want you to touch your nipple,” he texted, before again asking about her age. “And tell me that your mom is not gonna kill me if she finds out we even text.”
Through his lawyer, Adams denies remembering these communications. "Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage," Adams' lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, told the Times. "If, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware," Brettler continued. He further denied the "extremely serious and outlandish accusations" reported by the Times, calling some of them "grousing by disgruntled individuals."
Phoebe Bridgers recounts being invited to perform a song at Adams' Pax-Am studio. Adams wound up producing and releasing a 7" single of Killer, but as they began talking about the record, Phoebe says Adams began sending her "flirty texts," beginning a "whirlwind romance" that had Adams talking marriage a week later. More from the Times:
Yet in the weeks that followed, Adams’s attention turned obsessive and emotionally abusive, Bridgers said. 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.
When she broke off the relationship, Bridgers said, Adams became evasive about releasing the music they had recorded together and rescinded the offer to open his upcoming concerts.
Speaking again through his lawyer, Adams called his relationship with Phoebe a "brief, consensual fling." He says he doesn't remember flirty texts, and also denies threatening to withhold her songs from release.
Mandy Moore told the Times that over the course of her marriage to Adams, he placed himself in charge of her music career, not wanting her to work with other managers or producers. She says that while Adams would promise to record songs they wrote together, he'd replace her with other female artists when he booked studio time. "His controlling behavior 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," Mandy told the Times. She also said he would "lash out" in other ways, that she considered "psychologically abusive."
Through his lawyer, Adams called Mandy's description "completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship."
Read the Times' full report here.