Brow Beat

Ryan Adams Accused of Sexting Underage Girl, Manipulating Women in NYT Report

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16:  Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams performs at Music Is Universal presented by Marriott Rewards and Universal Music Group, during SXSW at the JW Marriott Austin on March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Universal Music)
Ryan Adams
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams is the subject of an explosive New York Times report in which seven women—including his ex-wife, actress Mandy Moore—accuse him of using his professional influence to sexually manipulate women, including an underage girl. He denies the allegations.

According to the Times report, Adams, who is a decade older than Moore, took control of her career while they were dating and then “lashed out in ways that Moore came to consider psychologically abusive,” reneging on professional promises and telling her she was not a “real musician.” Adams’ ex-fiancée Megan Butterworth shares a similar account and adds that Adams would try to control her social and professional life as well as “smash things and physically intimidate her.”

Phoebe Bridgers, Courtney Jaye, and two other female singer-songwriters who chose to remain anonymous also detailed a pattern of manipulation: “raving about their work and offering tour spots amid aggressive romantic pursuit, followed by harassing messages and threats of professional retaliation when the relationships did not progress as he wanted.”

Through his lawyer, Adams categorically denied the allegations in the entire report by Joe Coscarelli and Melena Ryzik, calling them “extremely serious and outlandish” and some “grousing by disgruntled individuals” trying to harm Adams.

One of the accusers is a woman referred to as “Ava,” who says Adams began communicating with her in 2013, when she was 14 years old, first encouraging her career as a musician, then sending sexually explicit messages and exposing himself to her over Skype. The Times reviewed 3,217 text messages the two allegedly exchanged:

Their conversations were on and off, but a constant theme was Adams fretting about Ava’s age — and asking to keep their exchanges secret — while also indulging in sexual scenarios.

“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.”

“Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” his lawyer told the Times, adding that the singer “does not recall having online communications with anyone related to anything outside of music” and that if Ava was underage, Adams was unaware. He also pointed out photographs and performances Ava gave at the time, saying she looked “approximately 20.”

You can read the full report in the New York Times.

Update, Feb. 13: After the article’s publication, Adams responded on Twitter, saying “I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologize deeply and unreservedly.” He went on to call the article “upsettingly inaccurate,” adding, “Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I though was underage. Period.”