Woody Allen’s alleged former lover claims affair started when she was 16
A former model says she was 16 when she started sleeping with Woody Allen, and later had threesomes with the Hollywood filmmaker and Mia Farrow.
Babi Christina Engelhardt told The Hollywood Reporter Monday she was 16 and an aspiring model in 1976 when she was approached by Allen, then 41 and not yet involved with Farrow, at hotspot Elaine’s in New York. The starstruck teen scribbled her phone number on a note for Allen, which allegedly resulted in an eight-year affair.
Soon after the first encounter, Allen allegedly invited Engelhardt to his swanky Fifth Avenue apartment, where she admitted to still being in high school and living in New Jersey while pursuing a modeling career in New York City. Engelhardt claimed the relationship quickly became physical, which Allen reportedly kept secret from his friends. The age of consent in New York is 17.
The pair reportedly agreed not to discuss his work and they only met at his place.
“I was a pleaser, agreeable,” Engelhardt recalled. “Knowing he was a director, I didn’t argue. I was coming from a place of devotion. … The curtains were always drawn. The view must have been spectacular. I wasn’t there for the view.”
Engelhardt also claimed that after a year, Allen started to bring in two other “beautiful young ladies” for threesomes. Then, four years after they started sleeping together, Allen introduced Engelhardt to his “girlfriend,” actress Mia Farrow.
Farrow was 14 years older than her at the time and already famous for 1968’s “Rosemary’s Baby” and 1974’s “The Great Gatsby.”
Engelhardt insisted she was shocked by the admission because she always viewed herself as Allen’s girlfriend. Still, she later engaged in threesomes with both Allen and Farrow because she was afraid of losing him.
Reps for Allen, 83, and Farrow, 73, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, and did not give comments to The Hollywood Reporter for its story.
“I felt sick,” said Engelhardt. I didn’t want to be there at all, and yet I couldn’t find the courage to get up and leave. To leave would mean an end to all of this. Looking back now, that’s exactly what I needed, but back then, the idea of not having Woody in my life at all terrified me. So I sat there, patiently, calmly trying to assess the situation, trying to understand why he wanted the two of us to meet.”
Engelhardt said she grew to like the Hollywood actress over the course of the “handful” three-way sex sessions at Allen’s penthouse as they smoked joints and bonded over their love of animals and astrology.
“There were times the three of us were together, and it was actually great fun,” said Engelhardt. “We enjoyed each other when we were in the moment. She was beautiful and sweet, he was charming and alluring, and I was sexy and becoming more and more sophisticated in this game. It wasn’t until after it was done when I really had time to think of how twisted it was when we were together… and how I was a little more than a plaything.
“While we were together, the whole thing was a game that was being operated solely by Woody so we never quite knew where we stood. I used to think this was a form of mother-father with the two of them. To me, that whole relationship was very Freudian: how I admired them, how he’d already broken me in, how I let that be all right.”
As for Farrow, Engelhardt explained, “I always had the impression that she was doing this because he wanted it.”
Engelhardt added that when news broke of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn (now his wife of nearly 21 years), she said she “felt sorry for Mia.”
“I thought, ‘Didn’t Woody have enough ‘extra’ with or without her, that the last thing he had to do was to go for something that was totally hers?” she said. “He had groomed Mia, trained her, to put up with all of this. Now he has no barriers. It was total disrespect.”
Engelhardt believed her alleged affair with Allen may have inspired 1979’s “Manhattan,” which starred Mariel Hemingway as Allen’s 17-year-old love interest. However, she noted Hemingway’s character may have been a composite of numerous young women Allen may have been seeing.
Stacey Nelkin, who dated Allen while a student as Stuyvesant, claimed Hemingway’s Tracy was based on her.
“It puts all the dots together,” said Engelhardt. “It made me realize that I was part of a pattern. I’d never been privy to his mind in that way.”
Engelhard last heard from Allen in 2001, when he sent her a letter thanking her for sending him a copy of a documentary she’d participating in about the making of Fellini’s last film, 1990’s “The Voice of the Moon.”
"I hope you're happy and well," Allen wrote. "I recall our times together fondly. If you're ever in New York I would love you to meet my wife — she'd like you. We get out to California every so often. If you'd like I'd call and perhaps we could all get together."
Engelhardt claimed she already had children then and her priorities were different.
“I just wanted to stay away from that,” she claimed.
Despite the shocking allegations, Engelhardt insisted she has no regrets about the affair. In fact, she has already written, and kept private, two volumes of unpublished memoirs focusing on her relationships and career.
“It’s almost as if I’m now expected to trash him,” said Engelhardt. “What made me speak is I thought I could provide a perspective. I’m not attacking Woody. This not ‘bring down this man.’ I’m talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets.”