James Franco Makes Rare Public Outing with Girlfriend Isabel Pakzad Months After Controversy

The Disaster Artist star, 40, stepped out with the grad student in New York City on Tuesday, where they were seen sipping matching green juice and smiling together.

James Franco has stepped back from the spotlight lately, but has seen been spending time with his 25-year-old girlfriend Isabel Pakzad.

The Disaster Artist star, 40, stepped out with the grad student in New York City on Wednesday, where they were seen sipping matching green juices and smiling together.

Franco wore a tan, fleece-lined jacket with dark jeans, sunglasses and a basketball cap, while Pakzad wore distressed jeans and a graphic t-shirt under a navy blazer. The duo were also seen taking a stroll in the city last Friday, where the held hands and laughed as they walked.

Franco and Pakzad, a Penn State alum who is currently getting a Masters in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at the University of Southern California, have reportedly been dating since early November, according to InStyle.

Franco opened up about his relationship with Pakzad to Variety in November, admitting that he’s working harder on being there for her than he was with an ex.

“There was one instance, this old girlfriend was visiting me in New York,” Franco said. “I had come out here for school. My cat had scratched her in the eye. I had so much work to get done for the next day, I didn’t take her to the hospital. I had my assistant take her. That moment haunted me so much. What kind of selfish, self-centered boyfriend are you?”

Franco said he’s already doing better in the boyfriend department, adding that he accompanied Pakzad to the hospital in September when she developed a serious throat infection.

James Franco, Isabel Pakzad

Pakzad has stood by Franco after he became embroiled in the national discussion of sexual harassment when he wore a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globe Awards. While he won an award for his performance in The Disaster Artist, just days later the Los Angeles Times published an article in which five women accused him of abusing his power as an acting teacher and mentor in a sexually exploitative manner.

Franco addressed the allegations during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers later that month.

“There are people that need to be heard,” the actor told Meyers. “I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say, just because I believe in it that much,” he said. “So if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much.”

The actor’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, previously denied each of the women’s allegations to the Times and cited Franco’s comments during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his formal denial.

“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”

After the women came forward, Franco started maintaining a lower profile. He skipped the Critics’ Choice Awards, where he won the award for best actor in a comedy for his role in The Disaster’s Artist — though he did make an appearance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

He’s currently shooting the second season of his HBO series The Deuce, and he also has a number of movies coming out soon, including The Mad Whale with Camilla Belle and Summer Phoenix, Zeroville with Megan Fox and Seth Rogen and a remake of Future World.

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