(London) Kevin Spacey took a dramatic break from his testimony on Thursday and seemed to almost choke on recalling the “intimate” and “somewhat sexual” friendship he shared with a man now accusing the actor to have groped him violently.

Spacey said he was “devastated” when he learned of the allegations.

“I never thought that (the man) I knew would stab me in the back 20 years later,” Spacey testified in his own defense at his sexual assault trial, in what may be one the most important moments of his life.

Spacey spoke calmly and earnestly – with some humorous and self-deprecating moments – as he surveyed his career, then fast-forwarded to the early 2000s, when he worked in London at the Old Theater Vic.

Four men have accused the double Oscar winner of sexually assaulting them between 2001 and 2013, describing disturbing encounters that went from unwanted touching to aggressively grabbing their crotch.

A man who called Spacey a “vile sexual predator” has said he passed out or fell asleep at the actor’s London flat and woke up to find the actor giving him a fellatio.

Prosecutor Christine Agnew called Spacey a “sexual bully” who “delights in making others feel helpless and uncomfortable.”

The actor pleaded not guilty to 12 counts including counts of sexual and indecent assault and one count of enticing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.

One of his accusers alleged that Spacey repeatedly over the years touched his inner thigh, buttocks and crotch in unwelcome ways that made him feel uncomfortable.

The affair allegedly culminated when the man was driving Spacey and the actor allegedly grabbed his crotch so hard he nearly veered off the road. The alleged victim told police he warned Spacey never to do this again and threatened to hit him.

“That never happened,” the actor said. I was not on a suicide mission in any of those years. »

He described the relationship very differently, looking wistful as he looked at a photo the man sent him of a mountain hike he had taken to raise money for charity.

Spacey said the man was funny and charming and recalled their time flirting together, acknowledging he probably took it upon himself to make physical contact.

“I’m a big flirt,” he said.

Slowly the two men started touching each other, Spacey recounted, but it never went much further, as the man made it clear he didn’t want that.

“He said things like, ‘This is new to me,’ so I think he may have been surprised by his reaction,” he added. The only thing he made clear was that he didn’t want to go any further than we were going and I respected that. »

Spacey’s description of the gentle caresses was in direct contradiction to what the alleged victims testified to. They said he surprised them when he aggressively grabbed their private parts through their clothes.

“It wasn’t like a hug,” one man testified. “It was like a cobra coming out and grabbing. »

Spacey called the man’s account “madness” and said it never happened. He also denied making racist remarks to the man during a rehearsal for a charity theater event.

The accused has also made a hole in the story of the man who was driving the car. The man testified that he was grabbed while driving Spacey in 2004 or 2005 to an annual gala hosted by Elton John.

The actor presented work schedules and itineraries that showed he was filming far – once in Australia – in those years. He said he only attended the event in 2001.

The man said he could have gotten the dates wrong, but remembered the incident was the last straw. He said he stopped spending time with him after that incident.

The 63-year-old American actor was one of the biggest stars of stage, film and television when accusations of sexual misconduct ended his career. If found guilty, he could face a prison sentence that would dash his hopes of a comeback.

Spacey told the German magazine “Zeit” in an article published last month: “There are people at the moment who are ready to hire me as soon as I am cleared of these charges in London.”

Spacey, who has homes in London and the United States, is on parole.