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Former Model Christina Engelhardt Says She Secretly Dated Woody Allen at 16

Allen (left), Engelhardt (right). Photo: Getty Images

When she was 16 in 1976, Babi Christina Engelhardt, then an aspiring model, approached Woody Allen at Elaine’s in New York and gave him her phone number, which she claims led to an eight-year affair with the director, who was 41 at the outset. Engelhardt, who now goes by Christina, described the experience to The Hollywood Reporter, saying she has mixed feelings about the relationship. She says it quickly became physical. Though Allen did not ask her age, she did tell him that she was still in high school in New Jersey (the age of consent in New York is 17, which Allen kept secret from his friends). “What made me speak is I thought I could provide a perspective,” Engelhardt said. “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.”

Engelhardt wrote about her relationship with Allen in unpublished manuscripts for her memoirs (she also wrote about a platonic relationship with Fellini). She says that during their relationship, she and Allen only met at his apartment and never talked about his work. About a year into it, she says he started to bring in two other “beautiful young ladies” for threesomes. Four years after Engelhardt and Allen started sleeping together, when she would have been 20, Engelhardt says Allen introduced her to his “girlfriend” Mia Farrow, who was 14 years older, which shocked Engelhardt. She later engaged in threesomes with both Allen and Farrow, in a large part because she was afraid of losing him. “It wasn’t until after it was done when I really had time to think of how twisted it was when we were together,” Engelhardt wrote, according to THR. “And how I was little more than a plaything.” She also told THR that she felt “sorry for Mia” when she read Farrow’s adopted daughter, now Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn’s account of their relationship. “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?’” she said. “He had groomed Mia, trained her, to put up with all of this. Now he had no barriers. It was total disrespect.”

Engelhardt doesn’t discuss Dylan Farrow’s claims that Allen sexually assaulted her, which have led several actors, including Rebecca Hall and Timothée Chalamet, to apologize for working with him. For THR’s story, she rewatched Manhattan, in which Mariel Hemingway plays a 17-year-old love interest to Allen, which Engelhardt assumes is a composite of the numerous young women he may have been seeing (Stacey Nelkin, who dated Allen while a student at Stuyvesant, has said Tracy is based on her). She also says that the recent reexamination of Allen’s work, including a Washington Post article cataloguing his seeming obsession with teenage women, has caused her to rethink parts of the relationship. “It put all of the dots together,” she said. “It made me realize that I was part of a pattern. I’d never been privy to his mind in that way.”

Former Model Says She Secretly Dated Woody Allen at 16