Ryan Adams Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Emotional Abuse by Mandy Moore, Phoebe Bridgers & More: Report

Ryan Adams
Julia Brokaw

Ryan Adams

He has denied all allegations, calling some of the details "misrepresented," "exaggerated" and "outright false."

In a report by The New York Times, Ryan Adams is being accused of sexual misconduct, emotional abuse and manipulative behavior by several female musicians, including his ex-wife Mandy Moore and rising indie star Phoebe Bridgers. According to them and others, Adams offered to help their careers before making sexual advances, acting controlling over their personal lives and, in some cases, retaliating when their relationships soured. He denies all the claims.

Particularly damning in the report is an account by a fan called Ava, who began communicating with Adams online in 2013 when she was 14. As they continued to talk over the following years, their correspondence turned from music into graphic texting and eventually, once, when Ava was 16 and Adams was 40, she said he exposed himself during phone sex via Skype. Adams claims to have not known she was underage.

By Bridgers' account, she was 20 when Adams invited her to his Pax-Am studio one night in 2014, where she impressed him with a song performance. Their professional relationship developed from there and Adams suggested releasing her songs on 7-inch vinyl via his record label. But things turned romantic and then obsessive and emotionally abusive, she said. Adams would text her relentlessly, asking she prove her whereabouts or leave social situations to have phone sex, she said, even threatening suicide if she didn't immediately respond. Eventually, Bridgers broke things off, and then Adams rescinded his previous offer to Bridgers to open his upcoming concerts and became evasive about releasing the music they had recorded together.

In 2017, Bridgers opened for Adams on tour ahead of the release of her debut album. "Then, the first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room," she told the Times. "I came upstairs and he was completely nude." (Adams, through his lawyer, denied this incident too.)

With Moore, the This Is Us actress and former pop star told the Times, "Music was a point of control for [Adams]." During their relationship, Moore said Adams offered to work with her and discouraged her from working with other producers or managers, but never actually recorded her music. They would write songs together and he would book her studio time, Moore claimed, only to replace her with other female artists.

Moore came to consider some of Adams' behavior psychologically abusive. "He would always tell me, ‘You’re not a real musician, because you don’t play an instrument,'" Moore told the Times. She released her sixth album, which was completed before their marriage, shortly after they wed in 2009. She has released no albums since. Their divorce was finalized in 2016.

“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,” she told the Times.

Through his lawyer, Adams told the Times that Moore's characterization of their time together was "completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship." He said he had been happy to help her career and had not prevented her from working with others.

After the Times story was published, Adams posted a message to Twitter apologizing to anyone he has ever hurt, but stating the "picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate." He called some of the details "misrepresented," "exaggerated" and "outright false." Specifically, he said, "I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage."

"As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly," he wrote. "I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing."