Speaking up

Soon-Yi Previn breaks decades of silence on Mia Farrow and Woody Allen

Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi Previn attend the 'You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger' Premiere at the Palais des Festivals during the 63rd Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2010 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Kossmann/Renault via Getty Images)

In an explosive and controversial interview published by New York magazine over the weekend, Soon-Yi Previn, the daughter of Mia Farrow and the wife of Woody Allen, spoke out, breaking decades of silence. In the interview, which was conducted by the writer Daphne Merkin, who reveals in the piece that she’s been friends with Allen for 40 years, Previn defends Allen from allegations that he sexually molested Dylan Farrow in 1992, when she was 7 years old. Previn also takes aim at Farrow, saying life growing up with her mother was unpleasant and even going so far as to allege abusive behavior by Farrow.

“What’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust,” Previn, 47 said in the interview. “[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.” Dylan Farrow earlier this year gave her first on-camera interview about the accusations she’s made against Allen, her adoptive father. She described being “taken to a small attic crawl space” where she says Allen told her to play with a train, and while she did, touched her genitals.

In a post on Twitter Sunday evening, Dylan Farrow stuck by her allegations and blasted New York magazine for publishing “a one-sided piece” that contained “bizarre fabrications about my mother.” She also criticized the magazine for allowing the profile to be written by a longtime friend of Allen’s, a point that many critics of the article have seized on. Her siblings also issued a statement defending her and Mia Farrow from the claims made in the story.

Meanwhile, Previn elaborated on the rift with her mother and the roots of their strained relationship that, she said,  go all the way back to childhood. “She tried to teach me the alphabet with those wooden blocks,” recalled about Mia Farrow. “If I didn’t get them right, sometimes she’d throw them at me or down on the floor. Who can learn under that pressure?”

Previn’s intelligence and ability to learn was constantly under a microscope, she said. “Mia used to write words on my arm, which was humiliating, so I’d always wear long-sleeved shirts,” Previn 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.”

Previn even said she has a hard time recalling one pleasant memory with her mother from childhood. She also goes on to discuss her relationship with Woody Allen, which “broke every taboo” at the time it became public in the 1990s. The two married in 1997.

For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full interview at New York Magazine.

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