Soon-Yi Previn gives a rare interview to defend Woody Allen
Mia Farrow’s famously private adopted daughter says Farrow ‘took advantage’ of #MeToo
Soon-Yi Previn, wife of film director Woody Allen and the estranged adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, has spoken publicly about her turbulent life for the first time in decades. Photograph: AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Soon-Yi Previn, the wife of Woody Allen, has spoken publicly for the first time in decades about her early life with adopted mother Mia Farrow, and allegations that Allen molested his daughter Dylan Farrow.
In an interview with New York Magazine, published on Sunday, Previn (47) alleged that Farrow has been taking advantage of the current conversation about sexual harassment to spread lies about Allen.
Previn, who is famously private, told the magazine she wanted to speak out now because accusations that Allen had sexually abused Dylan when she was a child had resurfaced, claims that Allen denies.
“I was never interested in writing a ‘Mommie Dearest,’ getting even with Mia, none of that,” said Previn. “But what’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t.”
Previn was adopted by Mia Farrow and Farrow’s former husband Andre Previn, from South Korea at the age of six. After she and Andre Previn divorced, Farrow began seeing Allen when Soon-Yi was 11. Her romantic relationship with Allen began when she was 21, while Allen was still in a relationship with Farrow.
In the interview, which was conducted by Daphne Merkin, who has been friends with Allen for more than four decades, Allen said: “I am a pariah ? People think that I was Soon-Yi’s father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter.”
In a statement for the piece, Dylan Farrow denied that her mother pushed her to speak out. “This only serves to revictimise me ? Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home.”
In the article, Previn said her childhood in New York was not a happy one, alleging that Farrow was physically and verbally abusive, neglectful and had clear favourites among her children.
Previn recounts multiple incidents from her childhood that paint Farrow as a bad mother, including Farrow leaving the children alone through the night when they were young; throwing wooden alphabet blocks at her when Previn made mistakes learning English; and holding Previn upside down by her feet “to get the blood to drain to my head”.
Farrow’s son Moses has made similar claims about Farrow’s parenting in a blogpost earlier this year, which Farrow denied.
Previn also described the beginning of her relationship with Allen, which she said no one thought would last. She remembers Farrow finding out about the relationship by discovering nude photographs of Previn on the mantlepiece inside Allen’s home.
“I remember the phone call when she found the photos,” Soon-Yi told the magazine. “I picked up the phone and Mia said, ‘Soon-Yi.’ That’s all she needed to say, in that chilling tone of voice. I knew my life was over and that she knew, just by the way she said my name.”
Previn says Farrow slapped her and kicked her out of the house, but acknowledges the discovery “would have been horrible for her”.
In separate statements posted on Twitter, Dylan Farrow and her brother Ronan Farrow, the journalist who has written a series of Me Too stories including an expose of Harvey Weinstein for which he jointly won the Pulitzer prize, say their mother is a good parent and that the New York magazine article is inaccurate and unfair.
“The idea of letting a friend of an alleged predator write a one-sided piece attacking the credibility of his victim is disgusting,” said Dylan Farrow in a statement on Twitter.
“My mother never coached me, but she did stand by me, even when Woody Allen unleashed hell on her via lawyers and publicists and allies like the author of this piece. Thanks to my mother, I grew up in a wonderful home filled with love, that she created, no one is ‘parading me around as a victim’ - I continue to be an adult woman making a credible allegation unchanged for two decades, backed up by evidence.”
Ronan Farrow also tweeted a statement in support of his mother Mia, criticising New York Magazine for its decision to publish “a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen’s”.
“As a journalist I’m shocked by the lack of care for the facts, the refusal to include eyewitness testimony that would contradict falsehoods in this piece, and the failure to print my sister’s responses,” he wrote.
In the article, Woody Allen was also asked about longstanding rumours that Ronan Farrow is the son of Mia Farrow’s ex-husband, Frank Sinatra.
“In my opinion, he’s my child,” Allen said. “I think he is, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. I paid for child support for him for his whole childhood, and I don’t think that’s very fair if he’s not mine.” – Guardian