Polanski's wife blames assault on 'crazy' 1970s

LA judge to decide whether Polish-born film director can be sentenced in absentia

The wife of the film director Roman Polanski said yesterday that she "understands" why other mothers are shocked by the fact that her husband had sex with a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.

But the French singer and actress Emmanuelle Seigner, 43, said that her husband was a "marvellous man" who "bore no relation" to the sexual predator described in some press accounts of the 32-year-old case revived by his arrest in Switzerland last year.

She blamed the "crazy" moral climate of Los Angeles in the 1970s for Polanski's sexual assault on the girl at the home of the actor Jack Nicholson in 1977. "It was a time of madness," she said. "Attitudes to drugs and sexual liberty and permissiveness are no longer the same today."

Ms Seigner was talking to French Elle magazine as a Californian judge was preparing to rule last night on whether Polanski, 76, could be sentenced in his absence or whether he must be extradited to the US.

"The man I know bears no relation to the man described in some newspapers," said Ms Seigner, who has lived with Polanski since she was 18. "As far as I am concerned, Roman has always been a marvellous husband and father."

Ms Seigner is about to release her second pop album, Dingue, French for "crazy", which will include a duet with her husband. She told Elle that she was confident that "this business will be sorted out by the Americans".

Polanski fled the US in 1977 after pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with an underage girl. He was arrested in Switzerland in September and detained for two months before being released into house arrest at his Swiss chalet in December.

A judge in Los Angeles was due to decide last night whether Mr Polanski could remain in Switzerland while he is sentenced. His lawyers argue that, as part of a plea bargain in 1977, he was promised a short sentence which he served while awaiting trial. They say he fled the country when he was warned that the judge had changed his mind.

Prosecutors insist that Polanski must be extradited to the US for sentencing. Whichever way the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza rules, there seems certain to be an appeal and several more months of legal wrangling.

Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, has also appealed to the court in LA to allow the Polish-born director to remain in Europe. Ms Geimer has consistently objected to the revival of the case.

Polanski was accused of plying her with champagne and drugs and raping and sodomising her during a modelling shoot at Nicholson's house. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy. He pleaded guilty to a single count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Ms Seigner told Elle she "perfectly understood" that "other mothers" would be shocked by the allegations against her husband. She and Polanski have two children, Morgane, 16, and Elvis, nine.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam