Christy Carlson Romano stopped talking to her Even Stevens TV brother Shia LaBeouf — and explains why.
The 37-year-old actress who played Ren Stevens — Louis's older sister — on the Disney Channel show from 2000 to 2003 made a YouTube video, "Why I Don't Talk To Shia LaBeouf," devoted to the topic. The short answer? "We weren't really close," she said. However, there were other factors, including feeling snubbed by him when he won his Daytime Emmy and later feeling "jilted" by his success.
"Everybody always asks me this question," Romano began. "To be honest, I don't even know if we were ever really friends, but we were co-workers. We had this very good on-screen chemistry. People assumed that we were — in real life — brother and sister, and that — in real life — I had an influence over what this guy did. Watch Honey Boy," the 2019 film LaBeouf wrote based on his childhood, "and it's like he's a completely traumatized young man at the same time that I'm working with him."
While they were an "instant comedic team," she said "people just assume you know people because you work with them. You really don't." Romano said it was only later that she learned of the "hardship" LaBeouf went through as a child, noting, "I just kick myself because I really do wish … I could have been a little bit more patient" and give him "energy and love like a real sister." At the time, "I was dealing with my own thing," as a 16-year-old who had just broken up with her boyfriend and moved across to star in a new TV show.
The Kim Possible actress said she took her job really seriously as a young working star. She spoke of "animosity" between them, pointing to LaBeouf winning the 2003 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for his role.
"I always wanted him to really appreciate what I gave to him and something that actually hurt my feelings was when he … was on the podium," Romano recalled. "I was sitting there with the rest of our team and he thanked everybody at the table but he didn't thank me… I was hurt at the time because I felt like from day one it was him and me. It was like our show. But because it was so life or death for him, it was his show. And I was just around because I was a girl."
They did have some fun when the cameras weren't rolling, going to Wango Tango music festival and going out in Hawaii while making The Even Stevens Movie. She said seeing him out of work the first time made her think he was "really cool" and "wild." She referred to him as "Crazy Shia" and compared him Johnny Knoxville's Jackass hijinks. "He was younger than me but he always had so much confidence in himself," she said. "I had a lot of insecurities."
They'd have a few pleasant, random run-ins after the show ended. Then his career exploded and Romano admitted she felt resentment — but not because she didn't feel he deserved it.
"The ghost of who Shia was and who he became was really frustrating for me," she said. "I didn't watch any of his movies. I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to watch him because … I was a bit salty. I felt like he had gotten a better agent, a better manager. So I kind of felt a little jilted by the whole situation. I was like: Here he is, making a big ole splash in Hollywood. And here I am, I chose to go to college," at Barnard College in NYC, "and there are consequences that come with that."
Romano called it "sibling rivalry, if you will." Though "over time, that really mellowed out for me."
She concluded by saying, "I never really stopped talking to him — I think we just went in completely different pathways of life." That said, they're "bonded for life" from their Even Stevens days. "That makes her want to see him succeed — and "get the help" he needs.
But from afar — as she's unsure she'd ever have space for him in her life due to their differing lifestyles. She said she's sober, as he's struggled, and noted she only has "a very specific amount of time and energy that I can put toward having anyone in my life."
LaBeouf has had big career success, but it's been overshadowed by his personal struggles. His arrest record has been well-documented. Then last year, he was sued by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs for sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress. He went on a hiatus from acting.
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