A pretty young model sits in the dark, watching David Copperfield work his magic.
As audience members around her are plucked from their seats and put onstage to be a part of the illusionist’s world-famous show, she says to her friend, “I’m sure all the people who go up there are actors.” But then, suddenly, Copperfield touches her shoulder and says, “Come with me.” “He asked me to do a trick with him, and after the show he asked for my phone number,” says Belgian model-turned-photographer Ambre Frisque, 29, who met Copperfield at a 2000 show in Brussels and went on to date him for more than three years.
The couple stayed together for six years before splitting in 1999, amid rumors their relationship was simply a business arrangement.
“Why would Claudia give up all those years of her life for a fake relationship?
But God didn’t make me that way.”) Friends and colleagues say Copperfield keeps such a hectic schedule that meeting women any other way is difficult.
“It’s not like David can walk into a bar and mingle,” says a female former assistant who helped Copperfield select audience members for tricks.
“Later on he showed me a tape of the show where he saw me and said, ‘Oh my God, she’s pretty, I want to meet her.'” Now another woman who met the magician the same way is accusing him of raping her on his private island in the Bahamas this July.
His Brit accuser said: “Predators behave like this because they think they can get away with it.
” Copperfield told PEOPLE in 2001, shooting down the charge.
(He also denied rumors about his sexuality, saying, “If I was gay, I’d be proud of it.
The woman said: “The thing about magic is the deception and that’s what he did with the audience when he assaulted me. I was in shock, I just froze.” This week Copperfield denied drugging and assaulting 17-year-old model Brittney Lewis in 1988.
He issued a statement supporting the #Me Too movement.