Moby says there are 'so many layers' to the Natalie Portman story

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Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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Moby is talking about the Natalie Portman situation. (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Moby is talking about the Natalie Portman situation. (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Two years after Moby's claim that he dated Natalie Portman was shot down by the Oscar-winning actress, he's still not sure of what actually happened.

"That's a good question," he told The Guardian in an interview published Tuesday. "I tried to describe it to a friend of mine and I had a hard time because there were so many layers to it."

The short version is that the musician wrote in his May 2019 book, Then It Fell Apart, that he had dated Portman briefly when he was 36 and she was 20. She then disputed that and said she remembered him only as "a much older man being creepy" with her. He'd asked her to be friends after they met backstage at one of his concerts. "He was on tour and I was working, shooting a film," Portman said, "so we only hung out a handful of times before I realized that this was an older man who was interested in me in a way that felt inappropriate." She also said that she was closer to 18, having just graduated from high school.

Moby at first insisted the two did date by posting a photo of them together back in the day on social media. However, he later publicly apologized for not having shown his book to Portman and the other people he wrote about before it was published. He said he was sorry, too, for behaving "inconsiderately and disrespectfully, both in 2019 and in 1999." Then he canceled his scheduled appearances and left social media for several months. 

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"When the lunacy was happening a couple of years ago, I took refuge in my ignorance," he told The Guardian in that new interview. "Obviously it became hard to ignore, especially when I had the tabloids camped outside my door. But I guess I realized that if everyone in the world hates me I can still wake up in my same comfortable bed every morning and go hiking."

When the interviewer pressed him on the issue, Moby, who's now 55, held firm.

"A part of me wishes I could spend the next two hours deconstructing the whole thing, but there's levels of complexity and nuance that I really can't go into," he said. 

He seemed somewhat — but not at all completely — regretful.

"There is a part of me in hindsight that wishes I hadn't written the book," he said. "But then, sales figures indicate that not that many people actually read it."

When writer Tim Jonze asked if Moby still stands by his account, the "Porcelain" artist reportedly said, "Er ... yeah." He compared the situation to his favorite chess move, which leaves the opponent with no good choices.

However, he does address whether he acted creepily, as Portman charged.

"I wouldn't use that word," Moby said.

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