In 2019, the 55-year-old musician claimed in a memoir titled, “Then It Fell Apart,” that he and the “Black Swan” star met in Moby’s dressing room following a show in 1999 and during their encounter, Portman was “flirting” with him – and that a short time afterward, Moby, then 33, tried to date Portman and the two had supposedly gone on “a few pleasant dates.” Moby claimed in his book that Portman was 20 but she later refuted the claim and said she had “just turned 18.”
The relationship, unfortunately “hadn’t worked out” for Moby, he wrote in the 2019 scribe, and Portman had told him she found someone else.
Portman, 39, shut down the dating claims at the time and maintained that she had actually found Moby to be “creepy” back then.
“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,” the mother of two said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK in 2019.
“When we met after the show, he said, ‘let’s be friends,'” she continued to the magazine at the time. “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.”
The public ridicule caused Moby to cancel his book tour and he issued a stout apology to Portman, who accused his publisher and Moby of not fact-checking his claims and using her story to generate sales.
“I accept that given the dynamic of our almost 14 year age difference,” he wrote in May 2019 on Instagram, “I absolutely should’ve acted more responsibly and respectfully when Natalie and I first met almost 20 years ago.”
Now, in an interview with The Guardian, Moby is sounding off on the controversy, his regrets and the backlash he received for even writing about Portman.
“A part of me wishes I could spend the next two hours deconstructing the whole thing,” he told the publication, “but there’s levels of complexity and nuance that I really can’t go into.”
He went on to say that he ultimately “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,” Moby said. “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.”
While Moby indicated that there is a “part of [him] in hindsight” that wishes he hadn’t written the book at all, he’s found some solace in the fact that “sales figures indicate that not that many people actually read it.”
When asked if what he wrote in the book rang true, Moby reportedly paused before answering, “Er…yeah.”
“You know, you’re asking me to open up such a can of worms,” he continued in his answer. “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 went on to openly admit: “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.”
Additionally, Moby also seemed to take umbrage with Portman labeling him as “creepy” while refuting his claims two years ago.
“I wouldn’t use that word,” he retorted. “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.”