Model and actress Babi Christina Engelhardt says that in 1976, at the age of only 16, she began an eight-year relationship with then-41-year-old director Woody Allen.
Engelhardt shared her story with the Hollywood Reporter, describing how she met Allen at a New York restaurant and gave him her phone number.
“What made me speak is, I thought I could provide a perspective,” she said. “I’m not attacking Woody. This is not ‘Bring down this man.’ I’m talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets.”
Being a fan of the filmmaker, Engelhardt recalled, “I was a pleaser, agreeable. Knowing he was a director, I didn’t argue. I was coming from a place of devotion.”
Due to the nature of their relationship, Engelhardt said that she was only allowed to meet Allen at his New York apartment overlooking Central Park.
“The curtains were always drawn,” Engelhardt said. “The view must have been spectacular. I wasn’t there for the view.”
Engelhardt, now 59, also recalled Allen eventually bringing two other “beautiful young ladies” to have threesomes.
Four years into their relationship, Allen introduced Engelhardt to his new “girlfriend”, whom, she said, turned out to be Allen’s future ex-wife Mia Farrow.
Engelhardt said she believes she was at least in part the inspiration for Mariel Hemingway’s character in Allen’s 1977 film “Manhattan”, in which she played a 17-year-old in a relationship with a 42-year-old man, played by the director.
In the manuscript for an unpublished memoir, Engelhardt wrote about seeing the film for the first time.
“I cried through most of the movie, the dawning of realization slowly settling in as my greatest fears crept to the surface,” she wrote. “How could he have felt this way? How was our partnership not something more than just a fling?”