The controversial director candidly spoke about his marriage to his wife of over two decades

By Alexia Fernández
May 25, 2020 10:55 PM
Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn
| Credit: Rob Kim/FilmMagic

Woody Allen is opening up about his 22-year marriage to Soon-Yi Previn.

The controversial director, 84, spoke to the Mail on Sunday about his relationship with Previn, 49, whose mother is Mia Farrow, Allen's former partner. (Allen and Farrow share children Moses, 42; Dylan, 34; and Ronan, 32, together.)

"I admit, it didn't make sense when our relationship started," Allen told the outlet. "On the surface, we looked like an irrational match. I was much older and she was an adopted kid."

"It looked to the outside world that it was an exploitative situation — that I would exploit her as an older predatory male, and she would exploit me for whatever I had. That was never the case," Allen continued. "In the past, I had always gone out with actresses, but for whatever inexplicable reason, with Soon-Yi it worked."

After they married in 1997, Allen and Previn adopted two daughters, Bechet, 21, and Manzie, 20.

"I have calmed down since I got married," Allen said. "I've got rid of many of my more neurotic traits, although I still won't go through tunnels and I don't like small spaces or elevators."

As for why he thinks his marriage to Previn has lasted, the Annie Hall director said, "She doesn't really like jazz or sports, and I don't like some of the TV shows she watches. But we agree on the big stuff — raising kids, where to live, how to act with each other."

Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen
| Credit: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty

"We adopted two children together. Being a father was important to me. We had a lot of fun," Allen continued. "Both the girls are in college now, one in California and one at art college in New York. Soon-Yi changed me. She gets me to go out four or five times a week. She likes the social rumble and I enjoy it, too."

Allen also touched on his daughter Dylan Farrow's allegations of sexual abuse, saying, "Of course I am aware I am the subject of gossip and scandal, but I cannot let it bother me."

"I live my life. I work. I play jazz. I watch sports. I see my friends. I don't look up and I don't read anything," Allen continued. "It was a false allegation but a great tabloid drama."

In late 2017, Allen faced resurfaced allegations of abuse by his daughter Dylan, who claimed in a New York Times open letter in 2014 that Allen molested her as a child. Allen has long denied the allegations, which were first reported during his explosive 1992 split from Mia Farrow. The director was not charged, though a Connecticut prosecutor said there was probable cause for a criminal case.

Allen has recently come under fire for his memoir Apropos of Nothing which was dropped by Grand Central Publishing after employees staged a walkout in protest. It was later released by Arcade Publishing.

The director said he doesn't let the backlash get to him.

"I ignore it. I work. I carry on," he said. "I surround myself with people I’ve known for a long time, people who know the truth."

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.