Ryan Adams Accused of Manipulation and Abuse in New Report

The New York Times interviewed a number of women who allege that Adams offered them chances to advance their careers while also pursuing them sexually. Through a lawyer, he denied the accusations.
Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

A report in the New York Times compiles the stories of a number of women who accuse the songwriter Ryan Adams of a pattern of abuse and manipulation stretching back years. Seven women, including Adams’ ex-wife Mandy Moore and the songwriter Phoebe Bridgers, spoke to the newspaper to allege that Adams has a tendency to take interest in the careers of young female artists, while also pursuing them sexually. “Music was a point of control for him,” Moore said in the article.


A 20-year-old woman, identified in the Times article as Ava, says she began corresponding with Adams when she was 14 years old. First they spoke about music, but Ava alleges that their discussions soon turned sexual, and that Adams exposed himself to her on Skype. The Times reporters reviewed over 3,000 text messages from the time that Ava was 15 and 16 years old. In those texts, Adams reportedly asks Ava how old she is. Though she, by the Times report’s admission, occasionally said she was older than he was, Adams’ texts betray some worry about the situation. (“If people knew they would say I was like R Kelley lol,” he reportedly wrote in November of 2014.) Through his lawyer, Adams denied having any conversations with fans about anything other than music. The lawyer also stated that “if, in fact, this woman was underage, Mr. Adams was unaware.”

Bridgers first met Adams in 2014, when he invited her to his studio. According to her, a romantic relationship ensued, as did offers to open for Adams on tour and to release music on his label. Those offers, however, seemed to be rescinded as their relationship fizzled, after Adams “began barraging her with texts, insisting that she prove her whereabouts, or leave social situations to have phone sex, and threatening suicide if she didn’t reply immediately.” Eventually, per Bridgers, the music was released and she joined him on tour, where an invitation to his room revealed other motives. “The first day, he asked me to bring him something in his hotel room,” she said. “I came upstairs and he was completely nude.” Adams’ lawyer said his relationship with Bridgers was a “brief, consensual fling” and denied that the latter incident occurred.


Adams’ ex-wife Moore alleged that Adams took control of her music and used his status in the industry to stall her career. She hasn’t released an album since 2009, shortly after their marriage began. “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 said. Adams’ lawyer disputed these claims as well, saying that her account was “completely inconsistent with [Adams’] view of the relationship.”

A number of other women, both named and unnamed, and over a dozen other associates of Adams were interviewed for the story, which you can read in full over at the New York Times.

Adams has responded in a series of tweets. In full they read

"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. But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false. I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period. 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. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing."

A representative for Adams has not responded to a request for comment at press time.

This story is developing and may be updated as it continues to unfold.