(Gray News) – Singer Ryan Adams has been accused by several women in a New York Times report of sexually aggressive and exploitative behavior, using his stature within the music industry to manipulate young artists who hoped he could advance their careers.
The report also outlines one instance in which Adams began communicating sexually with a fan who was 15, but told him she was 18.
Adams, through a lawyer, pushed back against most of the article’s claims and did not “recall having online communications with anyone related to anything outside of music.” In tweets after the article’s publication, he also specifically said he would “never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period.”
His ex-wife, Mandy Moore, told the newspaper that “music was a point of control for him" and described his conduct as “destructive, manic sort of back and forth behavior.”
The teenage fan, identified only as Ava, showed The Times more than 3,000 text messages exchanged from roughly five years ago, when she was 15 and 16.
She was a bass player who was lonely at home and reached out to Adams over social media. Their correspondence turned sexual, even as Adams repeatedly asked her about her age and appeared to be concerned that she wasn’t telling him the truth.
“If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley (sic) lol,” he wrote in one.
In another, he made Ava reassure him “that your mom is not gonna kill me if she finds out we even text.”
Once, she called him on Skype, and he answered fully naked.
Moore, the “This Is Us” actress, effectively blamed Adams for her music career stalling in 2009, the same year they were married.
“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.
Adams said her characterization of their relationship was “completely inconsistent” with how he perceived it.
They divorced in 2016.
In a series of tweets, Adams called the article “upsettingly inaccurate.”
“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.”
Another singer, Phoebe Bridgers, described how Adams pursued her romantically after giving her career opportunities and, when it soured, his manipulation included threats of suicide if she didn’t respond to his messages.
Adams, through his lawyer, described the relationship with Bridgers as a “brief, consensual fling” but denied any coercive behavior.
The Times reported two more female singer-songwriters describing Adams “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.”
One artist, Courtney Jaye, described his way of suddenly and aggressively trying to make a professional relationship sexual, as “Hurricane Ryan.”
An ex-fiancee, Megan Butterworth, also described Adams as erratic and abusive.
Adams dismissed the collective allegations against him as “grousing by disgruntled individuals.”