Who is Christina Engelhardt? Woody Allen's secret lover who inspired 'Manhattan' met him when she was 16
Engelhardt said she first met Allen at the famous Manhattan restaurant Elaine's where she gave him a note with her number
In 1976, when Christina Engelhardt was 16, she began a romantic relationship with Woody Allen, who was then 41. The former model, now 61, came out and spoke about their alleged eight-year-long relationship back in 2018. Engelhardt will now be seen describing her encounter with Allen in HBO's four-part documentary, 'Allen v. Farrow'.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Engelhardt said she first met Allen at the famous Manhattan restaurant Elaine's where she gave him a note with her number. He invited her to his apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, she said, and the two began a "physically intimate" bond even though she told him she was in high school. The age of consent in New York state is 17. The two continued seeing each other secretly on more than 100 occasions, according to Engelhardt. The relationship, she said, inspired Allen's 1979 film 'Manhattan', where a character played by Allen has a secret relationship with an underage girl. "('Manhattan') reminded me why I thought he was so interesting — his wit is magnetic," she said. "It was why I liked him and why I'm still impressed with him as an artist. How he played with characters in his movies, and how he played with me."
Engelhardt said her relationship with Allen changed in 1980 when he began publicly dating actress Mia Farrow. Engelhardt said Allen introduced her to Farrow and the three had a "handful" of three-way sex sessions. "I felt sick. I didn't want to be there at all, and yet I couldn't find the courage to get up and leave," Engelhardt wrote in an unpublished memoir viewed by The Hollywood Reporter. "To leave would mean an end to all of this. Looking back now, that's exactly what I needed, but back then, the idea of not having Woody in my life at all terrified me."
Engelhardt added that she and Farrow became closer, smoking joints and bonding over animals and astrology. "There were times the three of us were together, and it was actually great fun," she wrote in her memoir. "We enjoyed each other when we were in the moment. She was beautiful and sweet, he was charming and alluring, and I was sexy and becoming more and more sophisticated in this game." But later, she felt manipulated. "It wasn't until after it was done when I really had time to think of how twisted it was when we were together," she wrote. "While we were together, the whole thing was a game that was being operated solely by Woody so we never quite knew where we stood."
She said she was speaking out because she wants to add refinement to the discussion around Allen, who had become a target in the #MeToo movement back in 2018 because of his reported relationships with younger women and the alleged sexual assault of his daughter Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old (a judge later found the allegations inconclusive.) "What made me speak is I thought I could provide a perspective," Engelhardt told the Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Born on December 4, 1959, in New Jersey, USA, as Babi Christina Engelhardt, she is known for acting in 'Fellini Never-ending' (2019), 'Birds Eye' and 'Another Hollywood'. She now has three daughters and currently resides in California. Engelhardt, who dropped her first name and now goes by Christina, has German roots. Her parents were immigrants from post-war Germany. Her father was conscripted into Hitler’s army during the war. She and her younger brother, Mike, grew up in Matawan, New Jersey, a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. Her childhood wasn’t easy because of her German roots. In high school, she began pursuing a modeling career in Manhattan and that’s how she met Allen in the city.
She attended acting classes with Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg and got a job as an extra on Allen’s movie 'Stardust Memories'. However, she claimed that he never noticed her on set. She moved to Rome, Italy, in 1985. During that time, she acted in several Italian films.