Inspiration for Blonde On Blonde was forced by doctors to have an abortion, claims brother
Olivia Cole: The (UK) Sunday Times January 7th 2007
Ever since their 1960's heyday at the centre of New York's most hedonistic set, rumours have swirled that Bob Dylan had an affair with a peroxide-blonde, leggy muse of Andy Warhol, the Pop Artist.
Now the brother of Edie Sedgwick, played by Sienna Miller in a forthcoming film called Factory Girl, has given a full account of what he claims was her "deep love" for the singer. He said she conceived a baby she claimed was Dylan's, but was forced by doctors to have an abortion.
The supposed love affair has been at the centre of a legal row between the singer, 65, and the makers of Factory Girl, due to be released next month. Sedgwick died in 1971, aged 28, of a barbituate overdose.
Edie's brother Johnathan, speaking from his home in Idaho, said that Edie told him at the time about a relationship with Dylan and an abortion. "She told me she had to be held down by four men because she fought them so hard to keep the child she claimed was Dylan's. She did tell me later that this was the saddest moment of her life - losing Dylan's child."
In the film, set in the mid-1960s, Edie meets a musician played by Hayden Christensen - who happens, like Dylan, to be a tall, dark-haired, moody harmonica-playing folk singer.
At the time - 1965, as in real life - Edie was a leading light in the Factory. Warhol's tinfoil-papered studio-cum party venue. She has since been credited as the inspiration for the album Blonde on Blonde, one of Dylan's best known, and in particular for two songs on the record - Just Like A Woman and Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat.
Dylan has only once spoken about Edie, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1985, when he said: "She was a great girl ... I did know her, but I don't recall any type of relationship if I did have one, I think I'd remember."
Although Factory Girl does not mention an abortion, it's story of an affair has infuriated Dylan. Last month, Orin Snyder, the star's lawyer, wrote to Harvey Weinstein, Factory Girl's producer, saying: "Even though Mr Dylan's name is not used, the portrayal remains both defamatory and a violation of Mr Dylan's right of publicity."
George Hickenlooper, director of Factory Girl, said: "No changes were made because of the Dylan legal letter. We feel confident that Dylan has no case."
Warhol called Edie one of his "superstars" and she starred in several of his films, but also became caught up in the drug-fuelled life of the Factory "Some of the guests left in limousines some in ambulances." Nat Finkelstein, a photographer and Factory regular, has said. Edie's intense friendship with Warhol soured when he became jealous of her friendship with Dylan.
Johnathan Sedgwick described how relieved he had been when Edie met Dylan, whom he saw as a calming influence on her. "She called me up and she said she'd met this folk singer in the Chelsea Hotel and she thinks she's falling in love. I could tell the difference in her, just from her voice, she sounded so joyful instead of sad. It was later on she told me she'd fallen in love with Bob Dylan.
"I'm sure it was deep love. I don't think she would have felt that way if it hadn't been."
Johnathan Sedgwick, a retired aeroplane designer, is unsure when the friendship fizzled out. But he said the abortion took place soon after Edie was badly hurt in a motorcycle crash.
"She was claiming to be Edie but they didn't believe her", he said. Eventually, doctors consigned her to a mental hospital where she was treated for drug addiction. Staff found she was pregnant but, fearing the baby had been damaged by her drug use and anorexia, forced her to have the abortion.
Dylan's lawyers declined to comment this weekend.