Warning: The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault and violence. If you are a victim of sexual assault, call RAINN at 1-800-656-4673.
Michael Milosh, the Canadian songwriter best known for his R&B project Rhye, has been accused by his ex-wife, actress Alexa Nikolas, of sexual assault. In an open letter on Instagram titled “Groomed by the Groom”, Nikolas also detailed alleged physical abuse and financial manipulation, and accused Milosh of grooming her starting at the age of 16.
According to Nikolas, she initiated contact with Milosh in 2008 after taking LSD in an Iowa cornfield while working as a child actress on the TV movie Children of the Corn. “After my acid trip, or actually during it, I looked Milosh up and decided to send him a message,” she recounted to Verse in a 2018 interview. “The message read ‘Hi my name is Alexa. I like your music. If you’re ever in Los Angeles, I’d love to see you play.’ Two minutes later he responds ‘what’s your phone number’ and within a minute of responding I get a call from him.”
Nikolas said she declined multiple invitations to meet in person before she reached the age of 18, but in the intervening years they remained in touch. During that time, “A lot of our conversations revolved around his photography, his music, and his desire to film me.” She wrote, “A lot of our conversations were via Skype video chat. They were all sexual and flirtatious. I can account on numerous occasions undressing upon his request.”
Then, “On my 18th birthday he called me and asked me if I wanted to come visit him in Berlin, Germany.” This time she said yes, and she also sent him money to rent an apartment for them to stay in. Later, she came to believe that he had asked for more than was necessary and used it to pay rent for an apartment he shared with his girlfriend at the time.
The first night she landed in Germany, she alleges that Milosh raped her. “My first sexual experience with Milosh was the first night I arrived in Berlin,” she wrote. “I was 18 years old and he was 35 years old. I took a shower and was on my period, which I remember feeling good about because I didn’t want to sleep with him right away. I wanted to postpone sleeping together so we could get to know one another.”
Milosh played some music for her and asked her to take off her clothes. “I told him no, I’m on my period, and I don’t feel comfortable. He responded saying he doesn’t care about having sex while a girl is on her period. He also said he likes the taste of blood. I remember feeling very uncomfortable but I was attracted to him and I did not want our first sexual experience to be spoiled.
“I did not respect my no and neither did he,” she said.
She recalled him repeating, “You have to relax,” and then, “He began to press his thumb into my ass. I told him no, that does not feel good, and he said to relax and to trust him. I remember a tear coming out as he was looking down at me.” Nikolas said she started “silently crying.” But throughout her trip to Berlin, she did her best to “trust him,” and to do as he said.
Soon, he allegedly wrote a song about her, the first of many. “A week after returning home he sent the first song about me, ‘Major Minor Love’. He said that the line ‘A dark rhythm beating just behind’ was in reference to anal sex. Also the title was a play on words, major/minor key and the fact that I was a minor when we first started talking. In retrospect reading those lyrics is deeply disturbing.”
Nikolas and Milosh continued a long-distance relationship through 2010 into 2011, when he offered to come visit her in Los Angeles but mentioned that he was “short of funds.” She bought him a plane ticket, only to find out later that his trip to LA would actually revolve around a previously planned shoot for a music video.
During this time, she learned of Milosh’s alleged habit of recording women he had sex with and putting them into his songs. “In one of his songs “Don’t call it” he used the sound of me saying ‘No’ and reversed to saying ‘On’,” Nikolas wrote. “This is one of many examples of Milosh bragging about sexual violence and exploiting women in his music.” In another instance, Milosh reportedly boasted about getting two Japanese women drunk and then having sex with them while recording audio. “I doubt he got consent because they did not speak English and they were intoxicated.” Those audio recordings later appeared on the “Instrumental” track off his album meme.
Around 2011 they moved in together, and it was during this time that her mental health began to deteriorate as a result of an unrelated trauma. “Upon Milosh’s arrival I was not healed from that traumatic experience. I started to have panic attacks on a regular basis.” But “instead of him being loving and supportive through it all he was abusive. He started telling me I had to get over it or I was going to become a loser as an adult.” When she became upset, “he would react by punching the refrigerator and candles. Creating multiple dents in the fridge and even hurting his own hand in the process.
“I was scared,” she added.
When Nikolas was 19, and after they had been dating about six months, Milosh asked her to marry him. She said yes. Years later, she found out that his label had been getting ready to drop him if he didn’t acquire a US artist visa or green card. She came to believe that the proposal had been an attempt to become an American citizen so he could tour in support of his 2013 breakthrough album Woman.
Their relationship came under heavy stress starting in 2013, as Nikolas demanded an end to anal play and, she says, Milosh stopped wanting to be intimate with her. In 2015, Milosh allegedly admitted to raping a Jamaican girl when he was in his 20s. The confession sparked a panic attack for Nikolas, who began demanding that Milosh reach out to the woman and apologize. A few days later she had another anxiety attack. She claims to have “pushed a swifter on the floor,” after which “he charged at me, picked me up, pushed me on the couch, and pressed his forearm into my throat and continually screamed ‘shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up, shut the fuck up!’ I couldn’t breathe.”
As Nikolas explained it, the end of the relationship was slow and ugly, with multiple splits and reconciliations, talk of divorce, and accusations that she was after his money. After she began seeing a therapist, she says she finally understood the toxic patters of their relationship. The divorce took three years, during which he allegedly pressured her to sign documents without her lawyer present.
The divorce might have been the end of it, except that in 2018 she gave an interview to Verse in which she mentioned that they had begun talking while she was only 16. Nikolas said that she and Verse came under a harassment campaign from Milosh, his girlfriend, and the Rhye press team, who together tried to get the Verse interview removed. In her open letter, she documented several emails and text messages from this period that back up her claims.
Nikolas ended her letter with a call for Milosh to change his ways. “To this day I think he was grooming me since I was 16 years old and I think he got everything he wanted out of that situation, he got financial support as a struggling artist, a green card to continue his career, notoriety, and sex. To this day I still suffer PTSD from that relationship, even doubting my own sanity on some days. Creating this open letter has shown me that I’m not insane. My wish to Milosh is for him to experience a profound metanoia and renounce all of his disturbing ways.”
Read Nikolas’ full statement below.
Consequence of Sound has reached out to Milosh through his representatives. As of this writing, he has not responded to a request for comment.