Musician Ryan Adams Accused Of Coercing Teen Into Video Sex And Using His Fame To Manipulate Female Artists

“If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley [sic] lol,” read one of the messages the singer-songwriter allegedly sent to an underage girl. He's vehemently denied the charge.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams attends the Capitol Records' 75th Anniversary Gala in 2016

Musician Ryan Adams has been accused of sexual misconduct in a New York Times piece detailing the claims of several women, including one who says he engaged her in phone sex when she was an underage teen.

Seven women, including his ex-wife, actress Mandy Moore, accused the 44-year old singer-songwriter of routinely engaging in emotional and verbal abuse, harassment, manipulation, exploitation and predatory behavior in an explosive report published on Wednesday. The feature alleges that Adams, a Grammy-nominated performer and producer, regularly used his professional influence to romantically pursue young female artists, who he then shunned if they did not respond favorably to his advances.

A 20-year-old bass player known only as Ava told The Times that she began talking to Adams online when she was only 14 years old. Within a year, the conversations turned sexual; they began corresponding via Skype and Adams exposed himself to her during phone sex, she said. The Times reviewed thousands of text messages that the two reportedly exchanged when Ava was 15 and 16. While she sometimes claimed to be older than she really was when Adams asked her about her age, the paper reports he continued messaging her even though he seemed to believe she was younger.  At one point, he even remarked, “i would get in trouble if someone knew we talked like this,” according to the Times.

Adams wrote to Ava in a text in Nov. 2014 that he “never” got to see pics of her anymore, the Times reports. Ava was 14 and Adams was 40. He reportedly wrote days later, “If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley [sic] lol.” Mere minutes later, he allegedly texted her, “I just want you to touch your nipple,” according to messages obtained by the outlet.

Ava described their dynamic as one that was about “sexual power,” and she told the Times that the experience with Adams “just totally put me off to the whole idea” of working professionally as a musician, leading her to quit the business.

Adams’ lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, told the Times that his client denied the “extremely serious and outlandish accusations” in the Times’ report. Adams denied having enough influence to affect anyone’s career and described the claims against him as “grousing by disgruntled individuals” out for revenge, according to the outlet. Adams remembered his interactions with the women featured in The Times’ report differently than the outlet reported, and as for the alleged conversations with Ava when she was a minor, Adams does not recall that at all, Brettler told the Times.

“Mr. Adams unequivocally denies that he ever engaged in inappropriate online sexual communications with someone he knew was underage,” he said.

Another woman, musician Phoebe Bridgers, told the Times that she met Adams when she was 20. He seemed interested in helping her release her music and initially discussed having her open for him on tour, but the conversations soon turned flirtatious and they entered into a romantic relationship. Bridgers claimed that Adams soon became controlling and emotionally abusive; he would demand that she prove that she was telling the truth about where she was at any given time, and would pressure her into prioritizing having phone sex with him, the Times reports. Bridgers said that after she ended the relationship, his previous professional offers fell by the wayside.

Multiple other female artists, some of whom declined to be named, told the Times that Adams treated them in a similar fashion. Musician Courtney Jaye described Adams as “Hurricane Ryan,” and recalled an incident when they met to discuss music but things quickly turned sexual. Adams’ former fiancée Megan Butterworth, who split from Adams in 2018, said that their relationship was one filled with emotional abuse and, after their breakup, harassment. Brettler denied all accounts on behalf of Adams, according to the Times.

Actress and singer Mandy Moore, who married Adams in 2009 and stayed with him for nearly six years, told the Times a similar story of their time together. He was psychologically abusive and berated her for not being a “real musician” because she didn’t play an instrument, she said. They would write songs together, but then he’d call in a different female artist to record it, she said.

“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,” Moore told the Times.

Adams, again through his lawyer, denied all the claims, telling the Times that Moore’s recollection of their time together was “completely inconsistent with [Adams’] view of the relationship.”

Adams directly addressed the Times’ report on social media, apologizing in a series of tweets to “anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally.” Still, he went on to call the story “upsettingly inaccurate” and described the claims as “exaggerated” and, in some cases, “outright false.”

“I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period,” he wrote.

Moore also seemed to address the article in an Instagram post, writing, “Speaking your truth can be painful and triggering but it’s always worth it. My heart is with all women who have suffered any sort of trauma or abuse. You are seen and heard. #sisterhoodforever.”

Other musicians have since come forward to comment on Adams' alleged behavior and show support for his accusers. Carl Newman, frontman of The New Pornographers, described in a series of tweets yesterday meeting Adams one night long ago. Adams was a complete piece of sh-t, he said, and Newman suggested that he'd witnessed him treating an ex-girlfriend badly.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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