How did Woody Allen and Mia Farrow first meet?
A new HBO documentary, Allen v. Farrow, is shining new light on the tumultuous relationship between Hollywood icons Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, the latter who has faced allegations of pedophilia and sexual abuse for years.
Allen and Farrow reportedly met in 1979 at a restaurant in New York City. At the time, Farrow was married to her second husband André Previn, with whom she shared multiple biological and adopted children. Her divorce from Previn was finalized later that year and she went public with her relationship with Allen in 1980.
The couple’s first movie collaboration, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, was released in 1982. Over the course of the next decade, they went on to work together on films such as Zelig, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Husbands and Wives, to name a few.
Allen adopted two of Farrow’s eleven children and was the biological father of another, but the couple never married. All of the children lived with Farrow. Allen never lived with them and reportedly did not spend much time with them, as he claimed to not have much interest in being a parent, Farrow reveals in the new docuseries.
In 1992, the couple’s creatively collaborative marriage fell apart because of an affair, as well as horrifying allegations of abuse against the filmmaker.
Unbeknownst to Farrow, Allen had been cheating on her with Soon-Yi Previn, one of her adopted daughters. Their relationship began when Previn was 21 and Allen was 56. The discovery came when Farrow found a stack of nude photos Allen had taken of her daughter in his apartment.
Amid the shocking affair, Farrow’s then-7-year-old daughter Dylan Farrow accused Allen of molesting her. A team of medical experts investigated the case and concluded that Dylan showed no sign of abuse. The Midnight in Paris director denied the allegations and was not charged. However, the judge in the custody hearing awarded custody to Farrow.
Regarding the abuse allegations, Allen claims Farrow brainwashed her children, Dylan and Ronan, into believing Allen had molested Dylan as an act of revenge for the affair with her daughter.
Allen maintains his claim that he never viewed Previn as his own daughter, only Farrow’s, so he found nothing wrong with the situation.
“I didn’t find any moral dilemmas whatsoever,” he told Time. “I didn’t feel that just because she was Mia’s daughter, there was any great moral dilemma. It was a fact, but not one with any great import. It wasn’t like she was my daughter.”
“The heart wants what it wants,” he added. “There’s no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.”
Previn said she and the rest of her siblings never viewed Allen as a father figure.
“We didn’t think of him as a father,” Previn told Vulture. “He didn’t even have clothing at our house, not even a toothbrush.”
Allen married Previn in 1997. The couple has lived a mostly quiet personal life together estranged from the Farrow family. They have two adopted children of their own.
In the premiere episode of the HBO documentary series, 76-year-old Farrow reflects on the explosive relationship and her daughter Dylan’s accusations of sexual abuse against Allen.
“That’s the great regret of my life, that I wasn’t perceptive enough. It’s my fault,” Farrow admits. “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.”