Natalie Portman slams Moby's claim they dated, calls him an 'older man being creepy with me'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Natalie Portman, 37, and Moby, 53, are having a very public disagreement over whether they dated nearly two decades ago.

The musician wrote in his latest book, Then It Fell Apart, out May 7, that they did — when she was 20 and he was 36. She publicly shot down his claim — calling him an “older man being creepy with me” and expressing her disgust over him selling a book on this false premise — but he insists it’s true.

In his memoir, Moby wrote that they had a brief but romantic fling after meeting backstage at one of his shows."I was a bald binge drinker and [Portman] was a beautiful movie star,” he wrote. “But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me.”

Moby wrote that the romance was short-lived, though, because the Star Wars and Black Swan actress met another man, which he described as a relief, due to his personal struggles.

“I thought that I was going to have to tell her that my panic was too egregious for me to be in a real relationship, but one night on the phone she informed me that she'd met somebody else.” he wrote. “I was relieved that I'd never have to tell her how damaged I was."

That led to Portman slamming him in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar U.K. Now married to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she shares two children, Portman said she was a Moby “fan” and met him at one of his shows soon after she graduated high school. But she soon felt he was “being creepy” with her.

“I was surprised to hear that he characterized the very short time that I knew him as dating because my recollection is a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school,” Portman told the mag “He said I was 20; I definitely wasn’t. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18.”

She said after they met backstage, he said, “‘Let’s be friends,’” she recalled. “He was on tour and I was working, shooting a film, 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 slammed the independent publishing company, Faber & Faber, for not fact-checking the story with her. “It almost feels deliberate,” she said. “That he used this story to sell his book was very disturbing to me. It wasn’t the case. There are many factual errors and inventions.”

Being called “creepy” clearly didn’t sit well with Moby, who then took to Instagram to address the disagreement — along with a shirtless photo of him next to her back in the day.

He insisted that they “did, in fact, date” in 1999 — meaning Portman would have been 18 to his 34, as she said — and remained friends after. (The photo above shows them backstage at one of his concerts in July 2001.)

Moby wrote that he “can’t figure out why she would actively misrepresent the truth about our (albeit brief) involvement,” which he said is detailed accurately with “corroborating photo evidence.” He suggested that she may have “regret” over the romance, quipping, “To be fair, I would probably regret dating me, too.” However, he said that “doesn’t alter the actual facts of our brief romantic history.”

His social media post has been criticized for a litany of reasons — from him being shirtless in the photo alongside Portman as a teen to the fact that he posted it in the first place (“This is so cringey,” one commenter wrote).

(Screenshot: Moby via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Moby via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Moby via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Moby via Instagram)
(Screenshot: Moby via Instagram)

At the 2018 Women’s March, Portman talked about being the victim of “sexual terrorism” at the age of 13. After the release of her first movie, Léon: The Professional, she received her first piece of fan mail and it was a "rape fantasy" written by a man. She said from that moment on, comments made about her body "served to control [her] behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism."

She also talked about a countdown on her local radio show to her 18th birthday, “euphemistically, the date that I would be legal to sleep with,” as well as how "movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in reviews." And she said all that unwanted attention led her to create a persona of modesty, saying, "I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to."

A previous excerpt from Moby’s book talks about how he once “knob-touched” Donald Trump at a party.

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