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Actress Says that She Had Affair with Woody Allen at 16; Says She Was “Muse” for Character in Manhattan Movie



An aspiring actress who had a sexual relationship with Woody Allen when she was 16 has spoken for the first time about their affair, describing her shock to find that she partially inspired the character played by Mariel Hemingway in his film Manhattan, as was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Babi Christina Engelhardt was 16 in 1976 when she began an eight-year relationship with Allen, who was 41 at the time, according to published reporters. The age of consent was 17.

Engelhardt, now 59, described the relationship as a “love story,” but one that was complicated. Her retelling of the relationship depicts a consensual but lopsided power dynamic that raises questions about whether she had any real agency at such a young age.

“I’m not attacking Woody,” she said. “This is not ‘bring down this man.’ I’m talking about my love story. This made me who I am. I have no regrets.”

Engelhardt said she and Allen kept their affair a secret, and she often visited his Fifth Avenue apartment in Manhattan. A year into the relationship, Engelhardt said, Allen began bringing other women into the bedroom for threesomes, which Engelhardt described as “interesting ― a ’70s exploration.”

Three years after the pair met, Allen released “Manhattan,” in which 42-year-old Isaac “Ike” Davis (played by Allen) enters into a sexual relationship with 17-year-old Tracy (played by Mariel Hemingway). The iconic film has always been controversial for its depiction of a barely legal woman bedding a middle-aged man with little commentary about her age.

Ms Engelhardt said she recalled being shocked when she saw Manhattan while still involved with Allen and said it reduced her to tears.

She confronted him, saying there were a lot of similarities between her and Hemingway’s character, Tracy. Allen replied: “I thought you would.”

Ms Engelhardt now says she is probably one of several muses for the character. “I was a fragment,” she said. “Great artists cherry pick.” She told the magazine of her shock when, four years into their relationship, Allen introduced her to Mia Farrow, who he said was his girlfriend. She said she later felt sorry for Farrow, when it emerged that Allen had moved on to Farrow’s adopted daughter. After eight years with Allen, she decided to leave New York, saying: “I thought I was special and then I realized he’s a big person and he’s got a big life.”

According to a report in the Daily Mail of the UK,  social media users have started a backlash against Mia Farrow, suggesting the actress who has accused her ex Woody Allen of being a child predator is a hypocrite for her alleged participation in his controversial sexual history.

Twitter users pointed out that Farrow’s role in the movie director’s alleged relationship with Babi Christina Engelhardt, insisting she should be criticized more after the former model claimed she took part in drug-fueled threesomes with them both when she was 20.

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