photo of Woody Allen with Soon-Yi Previn and daughter Bechet Dumaine / David X Prutting/BFA
Though he has mostly remained tight-lipped about his much-scrutinized relationship with Soon-Yi Previn -- 35 years his junior and the adopted daughter of Woody's then-partner Mia Farrow -- Woody Allen got uncharacteristically candid about their relationship in a recent NPR interview that was curious, to say the least.
When asked about the famous "love fades" line from Annie Hall, Woody responds that "if you feel that you have to work at it...it's not working," using his own relationship as an example.
"I've been married now for 20 years and it's been good. I think that was probably the odd factor that I'm so much older than the girl I married. I'm 35 years older, and somehow, through no fault of mine or hers, the dynamic worked. I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things. She flourished. It was just a good luck thing."
That Woody would imply Soon-Yi just needed some sort of father figure, and that that's what made their romantic relationship flourish, is unnerving, to put it mildly. And keep in mind that his partnership with Mia Farrow ended when she discovered nudes of Soon-Yi in his collection, not to mention the fact that he was infamously accused of sexually abusing Soon-Yi's sister, Dylan Farrow.
It's also important to note that originally Woody insisted that he was not her step-father and that she never treated him as such. So when, then, did he become "paternal"?
Even worse, he says he initially thought it'd just be a fling.
I started the relationship with her and I thought it would just be a fling. It wouldn't be serious, but it had a life of its own. And I never thought it would be anything more. Then we started going together, then we started living together, and we were enjoying it. And the age difference didn't seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favor actually.
Woody is currently promoting his new film Irrational Man, which adds his growing canon of movies studying the relationship between old men and young women. He told NPR he isn't worried his relationship with Previn or Farrow's allegations have hurt his career, since he knows people will continue to see his films.
I always had a small audience. People did not come in great abundance and they still don't, and I've maintained the same audience over the years. If the reviews are bad, they don't come. If the reviews are good, they probably come.