After staying quiet during the height of the #MeToo movement and the accusations hovering around her husband Woody Allen, Soon-Yi Previn has finally broken her silence about her relationship with the director, her adoptive mother Mia Farrow and the controversies that have been pinned to the entire family.
In an article in New York Magazine, Previn talked extensively about her relationship with Allen and Farrow. She has been relatively quiet in regards to scandals and controversies since marrying Allen in 1997 — a marriage that raised a lot of eyebrows. He was 62, she was 27 and was the adoptive daughter of Farrow who had a long-term relationship with Allen. Many assumed that Previn and Allen had a father-daughter relationship, but Previn has said she never thought of him as a father figure. As for Farrow, she didn’t see her as mother of the year.
“I was never interested in writing a Mommie Dearest, getting even with Mia — none of that,” she said. “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.”
She told Merkin that it is hard for her to “come up with a pleasant memory” from childhood. She added that her life with Farrow and then-husband Andrew Previn was volatile.
She said that her relationship with Farrow “wasn’t maternal.” She recalled that it was traumatic the first time Farrow gave her a bath. “I’d never taken a bath by myself because in the orphanage it was a big tub and we all got in it,” she said. “Here, it was for a single person, and I was scared to get in the water by myself. So instead of doing what you would do with an infant — you know, maybe get into the water, put some toys in, put your arm in to show that you’re fine, it’s not dangerous — she just kind of threw me in.”
Previn went into detail about her past, claiming that Farrow would physically and emotionally abuse her. She also admitted to having a “little learning disability” and said that she never spoke about it “because Mia drummed it into me to be ashamed about it.” She would have trouble spelling and learning and even to this day, she has difficulties. But when she was a child, Previn claims Farrow would be harsh on her when it came to learning.
“Mia used to write words on my arm, which was humiliating, so I’d always wear long-sleeved shirts,” she said. “She would also tip me upside down, holding me by my feet, to get the blood to drain to my head. Because she thought — or she read it, God knows where she came up with the notion — that blood going to my head would make me smarter or something.”
The article also gave Previn the opportunity to tell her side of the story in how her relationship with Allen developed. They were strictly platonic until she entered college. That is when their affair began. She recalls talking a lot and said: “We were like two magnets, very attracted to each other.” She admits that he pursued her and that’s why the relationship worked. “I felt valued,” she added.
Farrow learned of the relationship when she found nude photos of Previn. She received a phone call from Farrow and that’s when she knew her “life was over.”
“When she came home, she asked me about it, and I — survival instinct — denied it,” said Previn. “And then she said, ‘I have photos.’ So I knew I was trapped.” She said Farrow slapped her spread the situation “like wildfire.”
“She was screaming at Woody when he came over,” she said. “Meanwhile, Dylan and Satchel [Ronan] are living under her roof and they are very small, 6 and 4 years old. They hear their mother going crazy, screaming in the middle of the night for hours.”
The article dives deeper into her family drama, her relationship with Allen and with Farrow.
In 2014, Dylan Farrow accused Allen of molesting her when she was 7. He has since denied the allegations, but Dylan has continued to be vocal about the abuse claims in the midst of the #MeToo movement. Allen’s son, Moses, has supported him while Ronan Farrow and other family members support Dylan’s account of abuse. Ronan has also written sexual misconduct and abuse exposés on Harvey Weinstein and most recently, Les Moonves.