After years of silence, Soon-Yi Previn, the wife of Woody Allen, has opened up about the sexual abuse allegations surrounding her husband, as well as her experiences growing up with her adoptive mother Mia Farrow, in a new interview with New York Magazine.
In the feature, published online by Vulture on Sunday, Previn, 47, defended Allen, who has long been followed by accusations of having abused his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in 1992, when she was 7 years old. Allen, now 82, has denied the allegations and, after an investigation that lasted more than a year, no charges were filed. Dylan’s story has gained renewed attention amid the #MeToo movement, and Allen’s career has seemingly begun to take a hit.
“What’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust,” Previn said. “[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.”
At the age of around 5, Previn, who was born in South Korea, became one of three children Mia Farrow and then-husband Andre Previn adopted in the 70s. Soon-Yi first met Allen as a child, when he began dating her mother in the early 80s, shortly after Mia's divorce from Andre. The two began a relationship when she was 21 years old, after Mia and Allen had already ended their romantic entanglements, according to Soon-Yi (Mia does not agree). She married Allen, 35 years her senior, in 1997.
Mia famously learned of the relationship when she found graphic nude photos of Soon-Yi on Allen’s mantel. In her recently published interview, Previn called their affair “a huge betrayal on both our parts, a terrible thing to do, a terrible shock to inflict on [Mia].”
“I know this is no justification. But Mia was never kind to me, never civil,” she said. It was partly the lack of affection from her adoptive stepmother that led to her relationship with Allen, later on, she said.
She explained, “Here was a chance for someone showing me affection and being nice to me, so of course I was thrilled and ran for it.”
Previn described her upbringing in Mia Farrow’s household as one colored by abusive experiences. Mia “wasn’t maternal to [her] from the get-go,” she said. She later recalled instances of Mia teaching her the alphabet using wooden blocks only to turn violent: “If I didn’t get them right, sometimes she’d throw them at me or down on the floor.”
Previn went on to claim that Mia’s alleged abuse included slapping her across the face, spanking her with a hairbrush, and “[tipping her] upside down, holding [her] by [her] feet,” because she believed that it would make her smarter. Previn’s story is similar to that of her adoptive brother Moses Farrow, whose lengthy account of his childhood, published on his blog earlier this year, accused his adoptive mother of numerous methods of abuse, including, on one occasion, hitting him “uncontrollably all over [his] body.”
Mia’s alleged abuse was also verbal, with Previn claiming that the actress and photographer called her “stupid” and “moronic.”
Farrow's other children have criticized the piece after its publication. Dylan Farrow took to Twitter on Sunday to criticize the outlet for publishing a “one-sided piece” full of “bizarre fabrications.”
“I have a message for the media and allies of Woody Allen: 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 by evidence,” her statement continued. “My only hesitation has been the way my mother is targeted as a result, as is the case here. Shame on New York Magazine.”
Ronan Farrow issued a statement on the piece via Twitter on the same day, calling it a “hit job” designed to “vilify [his] mother to deflect from [his] sister’s credible allegation of abuse.”
“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,” his statement continued. “Survivors of abuse deserve better.”
[Photo: Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn attend the premiere of “Cafe Society” hosted by Amazon & Lionsgate with The Cinema Society at Paris Theatre on July 13, 2016 in New York City. By Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]