Moby reveals some pretty juicy gossip in his new memoir, Then It Fell Apart, about making out with Christina Ricci, feuding with Eminem, hanging out with his childhood heroes David Bowie and Joe Strummer, pursuing Lizzy Grant before she was Lana Del Rey, and dating a college-aged Natalie Portman. But in an interview today with Harper’s Bazaar, Portman denies their relationship.
“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 said. “He said I was 20; I definitely wasn’t. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18. There was no fact checking from him or his publisher – it almost feels deliberate. 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. I would have liked him or his publisher to reach out to fact check.”
“I was a fan and went to one of his shows when I had just graduated,” she continued. “When we met after the show, he said, ‘let’s be friends.’ 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.”
In the book, Moby describes the story differently, writing, “We had just finished a show in Austin, playing to four hundred and fifty people at a venue that held five hundred. I walked to the backstage door, sure that this was a misunderstanding or a joke, but there was Natalie Portman, patiently waiting. She gazed up at me with black eyes and said, ‘Hi.’”
“I was a bald binge drinker who lived in an apartment that smelled like mildew and old bricks, and Natalie Portman was a beautiful movie star. But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me.”
He references another encounter after the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards: “After the show Natalie appeared on the balcony where my turn-tables were set up. She was wearing a perfectly fitted beige dress and looked disconcertingly like Audrey Hepburn. ‘What do you think of my suit?’ I asked, smiling nervously.”
“The paparazzi knew my name. I’d never been photographed by paparazzi. No one had ever yelled my name before, unless they were mad at me. I wanted to stand there and soak up the flashes, but Natalie took my hand and led me into the hotel. I walked to the bar and ordered two vodka and sodas, one for each of us. ‘Oh, I don’t drink,’ she said, scanning the room – which, in turn, was scanning us.”
Moby continues, “I thought that Steven Tyler would find my story charming, but he stared at me blankly and asked, ‘Are you with Natalie Portman?’ ‘I guess so,’ I said. ‘She’s so hot,’ he said, and walked away.”
A later chapter details a rendezvous from 1999 while Portman was attending Harvard in Boston: “I took a taxi to Cambridge to meet Natalie. We held hands and wandered around Harvard, kissing under the centuries-old oak trees. At midnight she brought me to her dorm room and we lay down next to each other on her small bed. After she fell asleep I carefully extracted myself from her arms and took a taxi back to my hotel.”
Moby’s Then It Fell Apart (Faber & Faber) is in bookstores now.
UPDATE 10:07 am: Moby has responded to Portman’s claim on Instagram.
I recently read a gossip piece wherein Natalie Portman said that we’d never dated. This confused me, as we did, in fact, date. And after briefly dating in 1999 we remained friends for years. I like Natalie, and I respect her intelligence and activism. But, to be honest, I can’t figure out why she would actively misrepresent the truth about our(albeit brief)involvement. The story as laid out in my book Then It Fell Apart is accurate, with lots of corroborating photo evidence, etc. Thanks,
Ps I completely respect Natalie’s possible regret in dating me(to be fair, I would probably regret dating me, too), but it doesn’t alter the actual facts of our brief romantic history
This article originally appeared on Stereogum.