An alleged former teen lover of filmmaker Woody Allen has come out of the woodwork to share the “hidden eight-year affair” she had with the then-41-year-old filmmaker that began in 1976 when she just 16.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, former model Babi Christina Engelhardt says she met Woody Allen at the New York City power restaurant Elaine’s in October 1976.
“It was October 1976, and when Engelhardt returned from the ladies’ room, she dropped a note on his table with her phone number. It brazenly read: ‘Since you’ve signed enough autographs, here’s mine!'” reports THR of the encounter. “Soon, Allen rang, inviting her to his Fifth Avenue penthouse.”
Engelhardt was still in high school at the time, living with her family in rural New Jersey. The two allegedly became physically intimate within weeks of their encounter; she didn’t become the legal age of 17 in New York until that December. Two of Engelhardt’s close friends confirmed to THR that she and Allen were in an affair, which allegedly lasted eight years. Photographer Andrew Unangst also confirmed with THR that Engelhardt did meet Allen at Elaine’s in the way she described. Her brother also recalled Woody Allen calling the house several times to speak with her.
“What made me speak is I thought I could provide a perspective,” she said of her reason for coming forward. “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.”
“I was a pleaser, agreeable,” says Engelhardt. “Knowing he was a director, I didn’t argue. I was coming from a place of devotion.”
Often, the two would meet at his 930 Fifth Ave. apartment for privacy. Allen also allegedly had a rule of never talking about his work.
“The curtains were always drawn,” Engelhardt says. “The view must have been spectacular. I wasn’t there for the view.”
After about a year into the relationship, Engelhardt says that Allen would occasionally bring other “beautiful young ladies” over to his apartment for threesomes. She had experimented with bisexuality at the time and found her threesomes with Allen “interesting — a ’70s exploration.” Four years later, however, things took a sharp turn when Allen introduced Engelhardt to his new girlfriend: actress Mia Farrow.
“I felt sick. I didn’t want to be there at all, and yet I couldn’t find the courage to get up and leave,” she said of the moment in one of her unpublished memoirs. “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 claims she grew to like Mia Farrow over time as they partook in a “handful” of threesome sessions together where they “smoked joints and bonded over a shared fondness for animals.” For a while, it was all fun and games, but later she began to see the darkness inherent in the relationship.
“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 little more than a plaything,” says Engelhardt. “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,” says Engelhardt. “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.”
Engelhardt claims that Mia Farrow went along with the threesomes because that was how Woody Allen wanted it. “I always had the impression that she was doing this because he wanted it,” she says.
When Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, was made public, Engelhardt recalls feeling sorry for Mia. “I felt sorry for Mia,” she says. “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?’ He had groomed Mia, trained her, to put up with all of this. Now he had no barriers. It was total disrespect.”
Since 1993, Allen’s former adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow has maintained that Woody Allen sexually molested her while he dated her mother. Allen has emphatically denied the accusation, claiming that his former partner Mia coached Dylan as part of a vicious custody dispute. The charges were ultimately dismissed by authorities. Moses Farrow, Dylan’s brother, has defended Allen’s innocence while asserting that Mia was the abusive one.