Now 50 and the mother of grown children, Samantha Geimer felt that three decades since her life was forever changed by filmmaker Roman Polanski, it was time to break her silence. Everyone knew her story anyway.
Geimer was 13 when, under the influence of alcohol and drugs given her by Polanski, she had sex with the director. Polanski pleaded guilty to the criminal activity before fleeing America and living in exile in his native France. Geimer writes about that episode of her life in a new book, “The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski."
“It wasn’t difficult to relive it because I had to do it so much immediately after and throughout the years,” Geimer said Monday to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “It’s a familiar story to me, so it’s kind of easy for me to tell it.”
In 1977, Geimer agreed to model for Polanski for a photo shoot in a French magazine. The director took pictures of the girl topless and later gave her champagne and a Quaalude before having sex with her. Geimer pressed charges against him, and Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse. However, just hours before his sentencing, he fled the country. He has remained in Europe ever since.
Geimer said she holds no anger toward Polanski.
“How do I feel about him? I hope he is well,” she said. "I was 13, that makes it rape. But I didn’t experience it that way. In my mind, I didn’t know know that was illegal. I didn’t understand he could go to jail for it. I was young.”
But Geimer made it clear she feels Polanski definitely took advantage of her. “Oh yes, it was a bad thing to do, and he knows that,” she said.
Geimer said she felt the intense scrutiny and press coverage following that time made up “the worse year of my life.”
“From the minute my mom called the police, it just went on and on,” she said. “The phone rang off the hook. My whole family was traumatized. It was terrible.”
Geimer also defended her mother, who has been criticized by some for allowing the interaction to take place. Some characterized Geimer's mother as an overagressive stage mom, which her daughter rejected.
“She certainly never had any idea I would be in any trouble or anything bad would happen,” she said. “She was trying to help me in my career. I wanted to be an actress.”
Geimer said she’s had “a little” contact with Polanski over the decades but didn’t elaborate. She said she’s not sure what she would say to him if the two ever met.
“I would have to think about that, and hopefully it wouldn’t be a surprise if I saw him,” she said.