Moby might want to invest in a few good fact-checkers before he publishes his next book. Because although he claims in his tell-all memoir that he and Natalie Portman had a short fling 20 years ago, Portman flat-out denies any relationship with Moby. In fact, she characterizes his portrayal of that time as having “factual errors and inventions” — and she paints a less-than-flattering picture of how their brief friendship unfolded.
Moby detailed the pair’s alleged romance in his new memoir, Then It Fell Apart. As he tells it, they met backstage at one of his shows, and it escalated from there. “I was a bald binge drinker and Natalie Portman was a beautiful movie star. But here she was in my dressing room, flirting with me,” he described in an excerpt, going on to add, “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. I was relieved that I’d never have to tell her how damaged I was.” He claims at the time that she was 20 and he was 33.
But, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK online, Portman insists her relationship with Moby was platonic and, if she’s really being honest, unsettling. “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 pointed out. “He said I was 20; I definitely wasn’t. I was a teenager. I had just turned 18.”
Portman does confirm that she met Moby, who was in his 30s at the time, at one of his shows. That’s where the similarities in their stories end, though. “I was a fan and went to one of his shows when I had just graduated. Then 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,” Portman said.
Clearly, this is problematic on many levels. If Portman’s recollection is accurate (and we have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be), it means that Moby not only sexualized a friendship with a young girl two decades ago, but that he also is now perpetuating that sexualization — possibly in order to turn a profit. It seems unconscionable that he or his people wouldn’t have reached out to Portman prior to the book being published. “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,” Portman shared. “It wasn’t the case. There are many factual errors and inventions. I would have liked him or his publisher to reach out and fact check.”
Moby has since taken to Instagram to respond to Portman’s counter-claims. “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.,” Moby captioned a photo of the two, adding in a P.S., “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.”
So, in addition to trying to figure out how we missed this entire Portman-Moby-hanging-out chapter of history, we’re also left pondering why Moby has a tell-all memoir in the first place.