Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn's Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

When Soon-Yi Previn describes how she met her husband, it's like any happy wife would tell it.
Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn's Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

When Soon-Yi Previn describes how she met her husband, it’s like any happy wife would tell it. They met for a movie one night, and a passionate discussion led to a passionate kiss. Soon-Yi fell in love quickly. But her relationship with Woody Allen, her husband and the ex-boyfriend of her adoptive mother, Mia Farrow, would be far from simple.

Shortly after Farrow discovered their relationship — infamously through finding nude photos of Soon-Yi at Allen’s place — their family fell apart. Soon-Yi alleges that Farrow kicked her out of their apartment and referred to Allen as “satanic.” Moreover, allegations surfaced that Allen had sexually abused their adopted daughter.

Since then, Allen’s films have faced scrutiny, and he’s been “canceled.” Documentaries have explored the allegations against him, and his daughter Dylan has consistently claimed he touched her inappropriately when she was young.

Amidst all this, Soon-Yi’s story often gets overlooked. Some portray her as a victim, others as a homewrecker. So, who is she?

This is Soon-Yi Previn’s true story, the wife of Woody Allen.

From South Korea To Surrey, England

Soon-Yi’s adoption documents state her birthdate as Oct. 8, 1970, but details about her early life are scarce. According to Soon-Yi, she fled her South Korean home around the age of five in 1975, with few memories of her impoverished biological family.

After surviving on the streets, Soon-Yi was eventually placed in an orphanage. In 1977, she was adopted by actress Mia Farrow and her then-husband, André Previn. Soon-Yi became part of a large family, joining siblings Matthew and Sascha (born 1970), adopted daughter Lark (born 1973), son Fletcher (born 1974), and adopted daughter Daisy (also born in 1974).

 Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

The family resided in a stunning residence in Surrey, England, where Soon-Yi and her siblings enjoyed the company of various pets. However, Soon-Yi describes her childhood as unhappy. She recounted to Vulture that Farrow showed favoritism and could be impatient and demanding. In the HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow (2021), Farrow acknowledged that Soon-Yi joined the family at an older age than her other children and “wasn’t ready to bond with me.”

In 1979, Farrow and Previn parted ways, and Soon-Yi relocated to the United States with her mother, Lark, Fletcher, and Daisy. There, Soon-Yi alleges that Farrow’s mistreatment persisted. She told Vulture that her adoptive mother viewed her as unintelligent, labeling her “stupid” and “moronic.” Soon-Yi claimed that Farrow once threw a porcelain rabbit at her, narrowly missing and shattering it.

 Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

When Soon-Yi reached the age of 10, Mia Farrow introduced her family to her new boyfriend: comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen.

The Beginning Of Soon-Yi Previn’s Relationship With Woody Allen

Soon-Yi Previn never envisioned herself becoming Woody Allen’s wife. Initially, she harbored strong negative feelings towards Allen. In an interview with Vulture, she admitted to “hating him” because of his relationship with her mother, unable to comprehend why anyone would choose to be with such a “nasty, mean person.” However, Soon-Yi asserts that Allen didn’t have much influence on her childhood.

“He was never any kind of father figure to me,” Soon-Yi stated in a 1992 interview with Newsweek, shortly after their relationship became public.

She elaborated, “I never had any dealings with him. He rarely came to our apartment before his children were born. Even then, he never spoke and the truth is I never cared that much for him. He was always preoccupied with work and never talked to me. Not really to any of us.”

 Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

However, their dynamic shifted when Soon-Yi suffered a broken ankle while playing soccer in the 11th grade. Soon-Yi’s relationship with her mother had reportedly deteriorated to the extent that she didn’t reach out to Farrow for help. When Allen noticed her limping, he insisted she see a doctor. Later, when Soon-Yi began using crutches, he offered to take her to school.

According to Soon-Yi, this small act of kindness altered her perception of Allen. They started to grow closer, especially after attending Knicks games together, at Farrow’s suggestion.

“I did take her to a game,” Allen recounted in his 2020 autobiography, Apropos of Nothing. “As we chatted at the game, I found that I was enjoying her company more than I should have.”

Their relationship didn’t escalate until 1991. In December of that year, around the time Allen adopted two of Farrow’s previously adopted children, Dylan and Moses, Soon-Yi and Allen arranged to watch a movie.

“I screen The Seventh Seal,” Allen detailed in his autobiography. “Bergman’s film ends and we’re alone in my screening room, and quite smoothly, if I do say so myself, I lean in and kiss her.”

Soon-Yi relayed a similar account to Vulture. “We chatted about [the movie], and I must have been impressive because he kissed me and I think that started it,” she recalled. “We were like two magnets, very attracted to each other.”

 Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

Both Soon-Yi and Allen assert that by then, Allen and Farrow’s relationship was nearly over, while Farrow contends they were still together. (Farrow also alleges in the HBO docuseries that Allen and Soon-Yi’s relationship began while Soon-Yi was still in high school.)

Although neither anticipated their affair to endure, Soon-Yi was aware that Farrow would be furious if she discovered it. The affair constituted “a huge betrayal on both our parts, a terrible thing to do, a terrible shock to inflict on her.”

Then, Farrow did discover the affair.

The Abuse Allegations Against Woody Allen

In January 1992, Mia Farrow visited Woody Allen’s apartment to wait for their son, Satchel (now known as Ronan), to finish a psychotherapy session. During her visit, she stumbled upon a collection of nude Polaroids that Allen had taken of Soon-Yi Previn.

Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

Farrow’s reaction was one of genuine outrage. In her autobiography, “What Falls Away” (1997), she recounts telling her children: “An atrocity has been committed against our family.” Allegedly, she expelled Soon-Yi from their Central Park apartment, informed Allen that Soon-Yi was suicidal (which she wasn’t), and reportedly told Allen’s sister: “He took my daughter, I’m going to take his.”

On Aug. 1, 1992, as the affair persisted, Farrow contacted a psychologist who had been assisting the family. She described Allen as “satanic” and “evil” and pleaded for intervention to “stop him.”

Then, the situation took a darker turn. Just three days later, on Aug. 4, seven-year-old Dylan Farrow allegedly experienced molestation by Allen at Farrow’s Connecticut residence.

In a 2018 interview with CBS, Dylan recalled the incident: “[Allen] instructed me to lay down on my stomach and play with my brother’s toy train that was set up. And he sat behind me in the doorway, and as I played with the toy train, I was sexually assaulted… As a seven-year-old, I would have said he touched my private parts… As a 32-year-old, he touched my labia and my vulva with his finger.”

Despite these accusations, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn maintain that Dylan was manipulated into making them by her mother.

Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

Following the revelations, the relationship between Allen and Farrow deteriorated rapidly. On Aug. 13, Allen filed a lawsuit against Farrow for custody of Ronan, Dylan, and Moses Farrow, citing concerns for their safety in Farrow’s care and alleging that she would turn the children against him. On Aug. 17, Allen released a statement acknowledging the truth of the rumors about him and Soon-Yi. He also publicly declared his love for her for the first time.

“I only knew that he loved me when he gave the press conference and said it publicly,” Soon-Yi recounted to Vulture. “Even then, I wasn’t sure if he meant it. We had never said those words to each other.”

On the same day, the Connecticut State Police announced their investigation into Dylan Farrow’s allegations against her adoptive father.

Ultimately, after a seven-month investigation, Allen was cleared of wrongdoing, as confirmed by a separate inquiry by New York State Child Welfare. However, a judge later determined that Allen had displayed “aggressively affectionate” behavior towards Dylan and denied his custody petition. Allen’s subsequent appeal was also unsuccessful.

Despite the tumultuous circumstances, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi’s relationship persisted. In 1997, Soon-Yi Previn became Woody Allen’s wife at the age of 27, while Allen was 62.

Soon-Yi Previn’s Life As Woody Allen’s Wife

Despite the passage of several decades since their initial encounter, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi remain together. They have expanded their family by adopting two daughters, Bechet and Manzie, as infants. By most reports, the family leads a relatively ordinary life, and the bond between Soon-Yi and Allen seems resilient.

 Unraveling The True Story Behind Soon-Yi Previn’s Controversial Marriage To Woody Allen

“[W]e’ve never spent a night apart since we married,” Soon-Yi shared with Vulture.

Nonetheless, they continue to live under the shadow of Dylan’s allegations. The #MeToo movement prompted a reevaluation of Allen’s professional and personal life, leading many of his fans and colleagues to distance themselves from him. People remain uncertain about Soon-Yi’s role in light of the accusations — is she a victim or Allen’s accomplice?

When speaking publicly, Soon-Yi doesn’t portray herself as either. Instead, she presents herself as Woody Allen’s partner, defender, and spouse.

In response to HBO’s release of the docuseries Allen v. Farrow in 2021, the couple issued a statement denouncing it as a “shoddy hit piece.” Soon-Yi told Vulture: “What’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust. [Mia Farrow] 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.”

Ultimately, the narratives remain divided. Dylan, Mia, and their supporters adhere to their version of events, while Allen, Soon-Yi, and their supporters maintain theirs

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