Ryan Adams faces allegations of sexual misconduct, “emotionally abusive” behavior

The singer/songwriter denied the claims made in a report by The New York Times.

February 13, 2019
Ryan Adams faces allegations of sexual misconduct, “emotionally abusive” behavior Ryan Adams performs at the Jaguar Land Rover Invictus Games Closing Ceremony. September 14, 2014.   Paul Thomas/Getty Images for Jaguar Land Rover

Ryan Adams is facing a variety of misconduct allegations from a number of women in a report from The New York Times. The individuals making claims include the singer/songwriter Pheobe Bridgers and Courtney Jay as well as his ex-wife Mandy Moore.. Another woman referred by her middle name "Ava" alleges to have received sexually explicit correspondence from Adams when she was underage. Adams issued a categorical denial to the Times through an attorney.


Ava allegedly provided the Times with 3,217 text messages exchanged with Adams when she was 15 and 16 years old. It is reported that Adams repeatedly questioned Ava for her age and that she told him "she was older than she was." Though Adams reportedly "did not seem convinced," he reportedly continued the relationship: Ava claims Adams frequently requested promiscuous pictures of herself, and says that at the start of one Skype conversation he appeared nude. In a series of texts, Adams allegedly said: “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley [sic] lol,” then messaged Ava 10 minutes later with “I just want you to touch your nipple.”

Adams' attorney Andrew B. Brettler said in a statement to the Times: “Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” adding “if, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware.” Brettler said his client has different memories of the "extremely serious and outlandish accusations” levied in the reporting, calling unspecified aspects of it “grousing by disgruntled individuals”

Pheobe Bridgers told the Times she met Adams when she was 20, and was hopeful he could help her career. “It seemed like he had the power to propel people forward,” Bridgers told the Times. Adams allegedly began flirting with Bridgers via text message while the two discussed releasing Bridgers' music on his label, Pax-Am. After starting what's described by the Times as a "whirlwind romance," Bridgers claims Adams became "obsessive and emotionally abusive": his alleged actions included threatening suicide if she wasn't responsive to texts and ordering her to prove her location at his demand. After their relationship dissolved, Bridgers claims Adams withdrew offers for her to open his concerts and became "evasive" about releasing new music. Pax-Am released three songs by Bridgers in April 2015.

In 2017, Bridgers says she accepted Adams's offer to open for him on tour while he was still "pursuing her." During one tour stop, Bridgers alleges Adams asked her to bring him something to his hotel room: “I came upstairs and he was completely nude.” Through his attorney, Adams called his relationship with Bridgers “a brief, consensual fling,” and denied the hotel incident or ever threatening to prevent her music's release.

Mandy Moore and Ryan Adams were married for nearly six years. During that time, Moore claims, Adams prevented her from working with other producers and behaved in ways she considered to be "psychologically abusive." Moore said: “He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument,'" Moore says. “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.” Adams's attorney said Moore's statements were “completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship,” and that Adams was supportive of Moore's “well-deserved professional success.”

The FADER has reached out to Adams's label for comment. On Wednesday evening, Adams issued the following statement on Twitter:

Ryan Adams faces allegations of sexual misconduct, “emotionally abusive” behavior