But the 26-year-old insists that he is no longer as hot headed as he once was and has grown up a lot since his time fighting in bars and being irresponsible.
"I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I’m learning," Shia told Parade as he promotes new movie Lawless. "I’m more comfortable with myself, and I’m calming down. I think most twenty-something men go through similar struggles and start seeing what boundaries and what rules are.
"It's about pushing limits and trying to find yourself. I've never been able to learn from other people's mistakes – I'm not that smart – so I usually learn by trial by fire."
Shia has been in the public eye since starring on Disney show Even Stevens as a kid but admits that he's lucky not to have had the high level kind of fame that would affect his day to day life.
"I’ve been blessed in that any kind of fame that I’ve received has never been like pop-star-fanatical," he mused.
"There’s never been any fanatical nature to anybody who has ever appreciated anything I’ve been in or has noticed me. It’s usually pretty respectful and quiet. People are very reserved with me, actually."
Meanwhile Shia, who prides himself on being a method actor, also spoke to USA Today about going on a real acid trip for upcoming movie The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman where he plays a moonshine-drunk in the bootlegging film.
"There's a way to do an acid trip like Harold & Kumar, and there's a way to be on acid," Shia said. "What I know of acting, Sean Penn actually strapped up to that [electric] chair in Dead Man Walking. These are guys that I look up to."
Although Shia admits that the day he tripped on acid was not fun.
"Sometimes, it does get real," Shia said about the shoot which was under the helm of director Frederik Bond. "Too real for a [director] who's trying to keep a diplomatic set."
Shia also drank real moonshine and the hallucinogenic effects were captured on camera.
The ballsy actor recently made headlines after he showed the world his naked physique when he stripped down for a full frontal scene in a music video for Icelandic band Sigur Rós' Fjögur Pianó but he says that he will consider girlfriend Karolyn Pho in his new raunchy movie.
"There are rules," Shia said about the agreement he came to with the Lars. "I have ethics. I'm not completely out of my mind."
"But I don't think there's anything wrong with sex. Sex is beautiful if it's done right. And I wouldn't just do it for no reason… Sex is different than love, and there is a separation, and that middle gap is what the movie's about."