Allen v. Farrow is a four-part docuseries with new episodes airing every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max

By Alexia Fernández
February 21, 2021 10:00 PM
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Mia Farrow is reflecting on the media and legal storm surrounding her explosive split from Woody Allen.

On Sunday's premiere episode of the HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow, the 76-year-old actress speaks about falling for Allen, 85, at the start of their relationship, and her daughter Dylan's accusations of sexual abuse against the Oscar winner. 

"That's the great regret of my life, that I wasn't perceptive enough. It's my fault," Mia says in the docuseries. "I brought this guy into my family. There's nothing I can do to take that away."

"I get why people can't believe it because who on Earth could believe that of Woody Allen?" she adds. "I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. Everybody admired Woody so much, loved him, and I did too."

The Annie Hall director has long denied the allegations of child abuse, which were first reported during his 1992 split from the actress. Allen was not charged, though a Connecticut prosecutor said there was probable cause for a criminal case.

Credit: Sundholm Magnus/action press/REX/Shutterstock; Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock

Allen has not commented on the docuseries and his rep didn't immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In Allen v. Farrow, the Rosemary's Baby actress says she kept her life as a mother separate from her relationship with Allen out of respect for him after he said he had no inclination toward being a father.

Mia was a mother to seven children before meeting Allen: twins Matthew and Sascha Previn, Lark Song Previn, Fletcher Previn, Summer "Daisy" Song Previn, Soon-Yi Previn and Moses Farrow 

Mia Farrow and Woody Allen
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In time, however, the actress says Allen began to "gradually" warm toward her children, in particular, her adopted son Moses. 

In the docuseries, Mia says she approached Allen about conceiving a child together, to which she says the filmmaker agreed on the condition that he could come and go as he pleased with no parental attachments. When the two couldn't conceive a baby, Mia says she asked Allen how he would feel about adopting a child.

Allen's further response, Mia alleges, was a portentous one.

"He said if I wanted to do that that it wouldn't ruin the relationship but that he wanted nothing to do with it," she claims in the docuseries. "I thought, 'That's fair.' He knew the kind of children that I adopted that were all from different countries with different needs. He said, 'I might be more kindly predisposed if it was a little blonde girl.' I thought if he cares about that I should try to find a little girl like that and maybe he'll love her. I eventually ended up with a little blonde girl and that was baby Dylan."

After Dylan's adoption, Mia and Allen conceived their son, Ronan Farrow. It was after his birth that Dylan alleges Allen began to show her "intense affection" to the point where she would begin to hide from the filmmaker whenever he was around her.

"In time, what it became [that] was there was nobody but the two of them," Mia says in Allen v. Farrow. "He didn't want to see the other kids, he wanted to see her. She started running away from him. She started locking herself in bathrooms."

In the premiere episode of the docuseries, Dylan, Mia, and a family friend, Priscilla Gilman, say they recall seeing Allen, in just his underwear, in bed with Dylan, as well as an instance where the director had Dylan "suck his thumb." 

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When Mia told Allen she was uncomfortable with the way he treated Dylan, she says he became angry.

"It was as if I'd accused him of being an ax murderer," Mia says in the docuseries. "I was crying and I apologized. And sometimes he would say, 'I honestly think you need help.' And I began thinking, 'I must be crazy. He can't be a pedophile.' I wanted to believe that he was not capable of what I feared."

Mia says the "floodgates opened" for her when Dr. Ethel Person, a psychiatrist who lived in her New York City apartment building at the time, told her she thought "there was something off" about the way Allen had greeted Dylan. 

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The actress says Allen agreed to see a clinical psychologist about his behavior toward Dylan. The psychologist told Mia that while the behavior was inappropriate, it was not sexual, says Mia.

In December 1991, Allen legally adopted Dylan and Moses. About a month later, Mia says she found "pornographic" polaroids of her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, in Allen's apartment.

Near the end of the first episode of Allen v. Farrow, Mia recalls confronting Allen about the photographs.

"First he said, 'I'm in love with Soon-Yi, I would marry her,'" she says. "Then he said, 'No, I just said that it's something I thought of in the car, I thought it would make it better if I put it that way. No, I love you.' It was all of that for four hours, 'I just made a mistake, I lost control.' I didn't know what to think, I just needed him to get out." 

Allen addressed his relationship with Soon-Yi in his autobiography Apropos of Nothing, which was quietly published in March 2020 after the publishing house Hachette dropped it following a firestorm of outrage.

In the 400-page overview of his life and career, Allen denied the allegations of child molestation and defended his romance with Soon-Yi, with whom he shares two daughters.

"I adored Soon-Yi, and despite the huge amount of flack I got for pursuing her, it was worth every second of it," Allen wrote in his memoir, which was published by Arcade Publishing. "Sometimes, when the going got rough and I was maligned everywhere, I was asked if I had known the outcome, do I ever wish I never took up with Soon-Yi? I always answered I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Of Mia's reaction to discovering their affair, Allen wrote, "Of course I understand her shock, her dismay, her rage, everything. It was the correct reaction."

In September 2018, Soon-Yi broke her silence regarding the allegations against Allen, telling New York Magazine that the abuse allegation against her husband "is so upsetting, so unjust."

"[Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim," Soon-Yi said at the time. "And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn't."

"He's so naïve and trusting, he was probably putty in [Mia's] hands," she said. "One thinks that he's so brilliant … and yet on certain things he's so shockingly naïve it makes your head spin and you think he's putting it on. Mia was waaay over his head."

Dylan, now 35, says since coming forward with her allegations of sexual abuse at the age of six, she has "been subjected to every kind of doubt and every kind of scrutiny and every kind of humiliation over this."

"For the longest time, I've been trying to set the record straight, because no matter what you think you know it's just the tip of the iceberg," she says in the docuseries. "This is somebody that I love more than anybody else and it's taken me a long time to reconcile that you can love somebody and be afraid of them."

Allen v. Farrow is a four-part docuseries with new episodes airing every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and available to stream on HBO Max.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.