Two years after Natalie Portman publicly contested claims Moby made about dating her in his 2019 memoir, the musician has been faced with questions about that controversy once again.
Remember back in 2019 when Moby claimed in his memoir that he and Natalie Portman briefly dated? Meanwhile, she described it as “a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school.” Well, two years later, that ordeal has been brought up once again.
In a new interview with The Guardian, he spoke cryptically about the situation when faced with questions like “Why did he write about Portman?” and “Does he regret his behavior or at least recognize her rather less rosy description of their interaction?” from his interviewer.
“A part of me wishes I could spend the next two hours deconstructing the whole thing,” he told the newspaper, “but there’s levels of complexity and nuance that I really can’t go into.”
He also noted he “took refuge” in his ignorance and avoided reading the press. “Obviously it became hard to ignore, especially when I had the tabloids camped outside my door,” he told The Guardian, “But I guess I realized that if everyone in the world hates me I can still wake up in my same comfortable bed every morning and go hiking.”
As for his regrets? Well… “There is a part of me in hindsight that wishes I hadn’t written the book,” he admitted before adding, “But then, sales figures indicate that not that many people actually read it.”
When asked if what he wrote was true to his recollection, the 55-year-old responded with a tentative “Er…yeah.”
“You know, you’re asking me to open up such a can of worms,” he continued. “It reminds me of my favorite chess move, which my uncle taught me, where you move your knight so that it puts the king in check but also is going to take the castle.”
He also admitted, “There’s no good way to answer: one option is terrible, the other is really terrible. So if we were playing chess right now, this is the part where I’d pick up my phone and pretend I’ve got an emergency call.”
He also doesn’t agree with Portman’s “creepy” declaration. “I wouldn’t use that word,” he explained. “But when I was an out-of-control alcoholic and drug addict I definitely acted selfish and incredibly inconsiderately towards family members and friends and girlfriends and people I worked with.”
In his memoir, Moby described meeting Portman in his dressing room after a 1999 show and claimed she was “flirting” with him. According to his account, they went on “a few pleasant dates” and Moby, then 33, “tried to be Natalie’s boyfriend.” However, he wrote “it hadn’t worked out” and she told him she met someone else.
Portman publicly contested Moby’s account, telling Harper’s Bazaar UK, “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.”
While he claimed she was 20, Portman said she had “just turned 18,” one of “many factual errors and inventions,” according to the actress. She accused both Moby and the book publisher of not fact-checking and claimed he used the story to sell the book.
“When we met after the show, he said, ‘let’s be friends,'” she told Harper’s Bazaar UK. “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.”
After Portman spoke out, he doubled down on his version until, days later, he issued an apology to Natalie for not letting her know he was including her in the book before it was published—and acknowledged their age gap.
“I accept that given the dynamic of our almost 14 year age difference,” he wrote, “I absolutely should’ve acted more responsibly and respectfully when Natalie and I first met almost 20 years ago.”