Alexa Nikolas, the actress and ex-wife of Rhye frontman Michael Milosh, has accused the musician of sexual abuse, gaslighting, and grooming in a series of lengthy Instagram posts shared on Sunday.
In her open letter, titled “Groomed by the Groom,” Nikolas accuses Milosh of being an ephebophile – a person primarily attracted to teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 – and claims that the Canadian musician groomed her for “a green card, success, and sex.”
Milosh originally formed Rhye in 2010 with Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal, and drew critical praise in 2013 for the project’s breakout album Woman. The album earned three-and-a-half stars from Rolling Stone and was longlisted for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize. Hannibal departed from the group in 2017, and Milosh continue to operate Rhye as a collective, releasing three more albums: 2018’s Blood, 2019’s Spirit and 2021’s Home, released this past January.
This is not the first time Nikolas has spoken publicly of her relationship with Milosh: She refers to a 2018 profile in Verse magazine in which she opened up about meeting Milosh when she was 16 and he was 33, though her description of their relationship at the time was largely positive. In her Instagram post, Nikolas claims that Milosh and his representatives tried to remove the Verse article after it was published, even though she had not accused him of abuse in it.
“I said nothing damaging and even withheld many truths out of fear of him not helping me financially during our separation,” she writes, referring to their ongoing divorce at the time of the article’s publication. “In my opinion, the reason why he was so adamant about taking the interview down is because Milosh was talking to me when I was 16 years old.”
Nikolas then goes on to give a more detailed account of how she met Milosh, describing how she reached out to him via Myspace in 2008. She claims they then began a “flirtatious” remote relationship over text, email and Skype video chat, with Milosh requesting multiple times that they should meet in person under the pretense of wanting to photograph her. One of these requests included asking to stay with Nikolas and her mother in Los Angeles when she was still 16, which she ignored. Nikolas says Milosh was aware she was underage at the time.
On her 18th birthday, Nikolas says Milosh asked her to fly out to Berlin, where he was staying at the time with a friend, though he requested that the two of them stay in a separate apartment and that she pay for it. Nikolas agreed, saying she “felt bad for him and his pride as a struggling artist.” She later learned that the 300 euros she paid to cover their weeklong stay were used by Milosh to cover rent for the entire month.
Nikolas then details her first sexual encounter with Milosh on their first night in Berlin together, in which she claims he coerced her to engage in anal penetration and vaginal intercourse without a condom. She recalls emailing a friend later that night, asking for help and saying she wanted to stay in a hotel instead, and included screenshots of her conversation in the letter.
Afterwards, Nikolas says she and Milosh continued a sexual relationship and that she modeled for several of his photographs, including what would later become the single cover for “Don’t Pull Away.” She also claims that the songs Milosh would write for Rhye’s breakthrough 2013 album Woman were about her. (“The album is called Woman because I was still a young girl,” she told Verse in 2018. “The song ‘Woman’ was a foreshadowing of the woman I was going to become.”) These include the song “Major Minor Love,” which she claims was specifically about her and Milosh engaging in anal sex, and that Milosh told her the song’s major/minor key were in reference to her still being a minor when they began their relationship.
“In retrospect, reading those lyrics is deeply disturbing,” Nikolas writes. “Now each word of that song completely creeps me out. I suggest you go and read them with a new perspective. It is a song about grooming a young girl and gaslighting.” (A rep for Rhye did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
After continuing a long-distance relationship for several months – while Milosh was allegedly still living in Berlin with his girlfriend at the time – Nikolas says Milosh asked if he could stay with her while he recorded music in Los Angeles. Nikolas claims she paid for his flight to L.A., and says “the entire time he stayed with me he never offered a single dime for gas or food.” She additionally claimed that Milosh told her to “get over” a traumatic sexual encounter she had had with another partner, and that at times he would have physical outbursts, “punching the refrigerator and candles … Creating multiple dents in my fridge and even hurting his own hand through the process.”
Milosh eventually proposed to Nikolas when she was 19, after they had been dating for six months. She later accompanied Rhye on tour for Woman, where Nikolas claims thats Milosh repeatedly withheld sex from her because she refused to engage in anal penetration. She writes that, years later, she looked through Milosh’s emails and found a message from Rhye’s record label stating that they would not be pursuing the project if he did not acquire a U.S. visa. “This all happened right before he asked me to marry me,” Nikolas writes. “So you can connect the dots on that one.” She also claims that the marriage impacted her career, writing that she “was not feeling creatively inspired by the projects coming my way. I did not have time or energy through all the stress in my marriage.
She continued accompanying Milosh on tour through 2016, and describes the relationship slowly unraveling, with her struggling with alcoholism and engaging in affairs. At one point, Nikolas says after experiencing an anxiety attack, she claims Milosh “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.”
Nikolas recounts her attempts to mend the relationship – including joint therapy sessions – before finally deciding on divorce, with proceedings lasting over three years. “I wanted it to end, I wanted a divorce splitting everything 50/50, but he stalled the process,” she writes. “He made me out to be a gold digging monster, everything was about his money. But now that I was struggling for money I was at his whim, which I think he liked because it gave him control and power over me.” Nikolas also provides several screenshots of her conversations with Milosh during the divorce proceedings.
“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, notierty [sic], and sex,” she writes. “To this day I still suffer PTSD from that relationship, even doubting my own sanity on some days.”