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Woody Allen and the Scandal That Almost Ruined His Career

Husbands and Wives Starring Woody Allen and Mia Farrow

With the premiere of Woody Allen’s newest film, Cafe Society, at Cannes, Ronan Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow, went back in the attack concerning alleged pedophilia charges against Allen back in the early 1990s. After the affair Allen had with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn came to light, another adopted daughter, then aged 7 at the time, came forward and alleged that Allen sexually abused her.

Red Carpet Arrival
68th Annual Cannes Film Festival – ‘Irrational Man’ – Premiere
Featuring: Woody Allen, Soon-Yi Previn
Where: Cannes, France
When: 15 May 2015

At the time, a firestorm was raging in the press and, suddenly, the charmingly enigmatic director of such films as Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Annie Hall, and Hannah and Her Sisters, had become front page news. He was admired by the French and the intelligentsia in United States but, for the most part, Woody Allen was never front page news. One of the most prolific filmmakers in the history of commercial cinema, Allen made his little movies and went on with his life.

The powder-keg erupted when Mia Farrow discovered nude photos of Soon-Yi in Allen’s possesion and went ballistic. The press ate it up and sat out to vilify Allen before the truth came out, ignoring, the underlining issues in this story that almost make it feel like a film Allen probably would have liked to write.

Woody Allen and Mia Farrow were never a conventional couple. They didn’t live together. Seemingly, their lives intersected more on movie sets than in real life.  According to an article in the NY Post, that was why their relationship worked. The Post quoted from a biography of Allen by author Eric Lax

“It’s sort of like just enough,” Allen told his biographer Eric Lax in 1990. Their relationship worked, Allen said, “because we don’t live together and that she has her own life completely and that I have mine that we’re able to maintain this relationship with a certain proper tension.”

Farrow was the daughter of actress Maureen O’Sullivan and John Farrow. She had been around movies all her life.  As the relationship fell apart, Farrow would go on the offensive and lash out at those closest to Allen, even her daughter Soon-Yi. Further on in The Post’s article we find, “Mia attacked her (Soon-Yi), at one point reportedly breaking a chair over her daughter,” when she learned about the affair. Farrow would continue to fuel the tabloid fodder for a long time to come.

Press Photos
Ronan Farrow and Woody Allen at Odds

Meanwhile, a new, more damning accusation against Woody Allen would come out and this had nothing to do with Soon-Yi, instead Farrow’s adopted daughter Dylan. From Wikipedia, “In 1992, Mia alleged that Dylan Farrow, then aged seven, had told her she had been sexually abused by Allen. In August 1992, Allen sued for full custody of his and Farrow’s three children, claiming that Farrow was concocting the sexual abuse allegations.” A police investigation brought no charges against Allen. Yet, the media still pushes Allen’s culpability in the matter and hasn’t stopped to consider if Mia Farrow is making this up.

According to Wikipedia, “In a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, Farrow stated Ronan could “possibly” be the biological child of her first husband Frank Sinatra, with whom she claimed to have “never really split up.”‘ As you are probably aware, Ronan has been the most vocal critic of Allen after his sister renewed her allegations in a blog by a friend of Farrow’s. Add to, after Dylan Farrow renewed her allegations, another of Mia Farrow’s adopted children, Moses, leveled abuse claims against his adopted mother, and yo have a right royal mess.

Soon-Yi Previn was not Allen’s daughter. She, herself, considered composer Andre Previn to be her father, not Allen. As well, Soon-Yi’s exact age is a mystery. There was no birth certificate. According to The Post, “…Soon-Yi Previn, who was either 18 or 20. (She has no birth certificate, and her age was roughly determined by a bone scan.)” How you feel about the moral implications of Allen doing what he did are neither here nor there. Was it wrong? Probably, but there isn’t a book that says who you and shouldn’t love.

In an interview with Time magazine, courtesy of the website International Business Times, Soon-Yi Previn had this to say about her relationship with Allen, “To think that Woody was in any way a father or stepfather to me is laughable. My parents are Andre Previn and Mia, but obviously they’re not even my real parents. I came to America when I was 7. I was never remotely close to Woody.”

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have been married for nearly twenty years now and that should tell you quite a lot. In a business like Hollywood that is a lifetime and a half. A quick Google search of the average length of a marriage revealed it to be eight years. Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have been married for nearly twenty.

In the end, Ronan Farrow may prove that his father did sexually abuse his sister but at what cost?