The very public 30-year feud between former lovers Mia Farrow and Woody Allen is set to reignite this weekend as the allegations of child sex abuse that crashed the Annie Hall director’s career are aired anew.
Allen v Farrow, a four-part HBO documentary that will air over the next few weekends is already being attacked as being far too sympathetic to Mia and unfair to 85-year-old Woody.
For 30 years Golden Globe winner Mia, 76, has been on a ‘crusade’ to destroy Allen because he had an affair and later married one of her daughters and – she claims – sexually abused another who was just 7-years-old at the time.
But Mia’s own life has been fraught with drama and tragedy including the premature deaths of three of her 14 children, accusations of violent rages and tragic deaths of her own siblings. And while some wonder why Mia herself wasn’t more attentive to the alleged abuse of Dylan – others question whether it happened at all, including her own son Moses.
Mia Farrow’s life has been fraught with drama and tragedy including the deaths of three of her 14 children – one from suicide and another from HIV. She had four biological children and adopted the rest
New HBO documentary, Allen v. Farrow, features never-before-seen home videos of young Dylan Farrow describing how Woody Allen allegedly abused her
Mia and Allen split after Mia discovered naked photos of her then 21-year-old adoptive daughter Soon-Yi in Allen’s apartment. Allen and Soon-Yi are now married and were pictured Friday. Some say Mia’s allegations stem from her vendetta against Allen and Soon-Yi’s relationship
Entertainment columnist Roger Friedman – who has long championed Allen, claiming he has been being unfairly treated in the scandal that saw him go from Oscar darling to Hollywood pariah – calls the series ‘disingenuous to a fault.’
‘Allen vs. Farrow is not a documentary,’ Friedman wrote on his website Showbiz411. ‘It’s an Op Ed piece, and a toast to Mia, who gives the performance of her life.’
Farrow was born into Hollywood royalty — her father was Australian director John Farrow and her mother Maureen O’Sullivan was most famously Jane to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan. Mia is pictured with her mother in 1965
He calls it ‘a shame’ that the documentary directors Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick have ‘been sucked into Mia’s now almost 30-year vendetta’ against the man she loved for a dozen years.
But in the documentary, it is Mia who is portrayed as the heroine who tries to save her children from her predatory lover, despite two of her children accusing her of having violent rages.
Mia was born into Hollywood royalty — her father was Australian director John Farrow and her mother Maureen O’Sullivan was most famously Jane to Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan.
She was one of seven children and had a difficult upbringing after contracting polio at age nine and was kept in isolation.
Four years later her 19-year-old brother died in a plane crash. Heartbreak followed when her father died in 1963 and her mother moved the family to New York City where she began her acting career. Another brother Patrick, a sculptor, shot himself dead at his Vermont studio in 2009 and another, John, spent years in prison for child sex abuse.
She tied the knot with Frank Sinatra when he was 50 and she was 21, and then set her sights on married composer André Previn — 16 years her senior.
Farrow shot to fame thanks to her performance in Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror movie Rosemary’s Baby. Sinatra was so furious that she accepted the part he served her with divorce papers in the middle of filming.
Two years later, after moving in with Previn and his wife Dory, she got pregnant with Previn’s twins.
He soon divorced his singer-songwriter wife, devastating her so much that she was institutionalized. Dory Previn later wrote a bitter song, Beware of Young Girls, detailing how Mia had lured her husband away.
Mia had a difficult upbringing, contracting polio at age nine and being in isolation – before the plane crash death of one brother and suicide of another. The family are pictured together. Mia (then Maria) is seen standing on the left
Mia tied the knot with Frank Sinatra (pictured together in 1966) when he was 50 and she was 21, and then set her sights on married composer André Previn – 16 years her senior
‘She was my friend, my friend, my friend, I thought her motives were sincere,’ sang Dory, who died in 2012. ‘But this lass, it came to pass, had a dark and different plan. She admired my own sweet man.
‘So young and vain, she brought me pain, but I’m wise enough to say she will leave him one thoughtless day. She’ll just leave him and go away.’
Mia married Previn and had another son Fletcher Previn.
They also adopted Lark Song Previn from Vietnam as well as Soon-Yi from South Korea, before Dory’s prophecy that she would leave him and go away came true. They divorced in 1979 and she moved on to Allen.
Mia moved in with Andre Previn and his wife Dory (pictured together) then got pregnant with Previn’s twins. He soon divorced his singer-songwriter wife, devastating her so much that she was institutionalized
In total Mia gave birth to four children and adopted 10 for a total of 14 children between 1970 and 1995.
Three of them have since died. Lark Previn fell into a life of drugs and died of AIDS at 35, and Thaddeus Wilk Farrow committed suicide at age 27 in 2016. A third, Tam, who was blind is said to have died of an accidental overdose in 2000, but Mia’s son Moses contends that she too killed herself deliberately.
It was Soon-Yi, now 50, who led to Mia’s bitter split from Allen. In January 1992 Mia found nude photographs of the then 21-year-old that Allen had taken and realized that they were having an affair. Allen insisted it had only begun a few weeks earlier, although the documentary claims it had started when Soon-Yi was still in high school.
Despite her own history of dating an older married man, Mia could not forgive either Allen or Soon-Yi for their betrayal. Allen’s supporters say that is what led her on her crusade to ruin Allen with her accusations of sex abuse against Dylan, a girl they had adopted together.
These allegations are the central focus of the new documentary.
Dylan, now 35, speaks in detail on camera for the first time about it and in a home video shot by Mia in 1992, the then-7-year-old says Allen told her ‘Do not move, I have to do this,’ as he ‘touched her private parts’ in the attic of Frog Hollow, Farrow’s rambling home in Bridgewater, Connecticut on August 4 1992.
The alleged abuse occurred seven months after Mia had discovered Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi. Despite their growing enmity she still let him inside her house and left him with her children and nannies while she went on a shopping spree. She even told Moses, her oldest adopted son, to keep an eye on Allen to make sure he didn’t do anything inappropriate.
Moses was 14 at the time.
Mia is pictured with adopted Vietnamese daughter Lark at Heathrow Airport with her husband Andre Previn before leaving for Boston
Pictured from left to right: Allen, Dylan, Ronan Farrow, Daisy Previn, Soon Yi Previn, and Moses Farrow with Mia on the far right
The documentary is set to reignite one of the most bitter and public celebrity family scandals that has raged on for the past 30 years. Pictured: Moses Farrow with siblings Dylan and Ronan. Moses has turned against his mother
Farrow’s children are split about what happened. Journalist Ronan Farrow — the only biological child of Allen and Farrow — strongly supports his mother. Moses turned against her with a scathing essay in 2018, in which he said Mia had drilled into the children’s heads that Allen was ‘evil,’ ‘a monster,’ ‘the devil,’ and Soon-Yi was ‘dead to us.’
‘My mother was our only source of information about Woody — and she was extremely convincing,’ wrote Moses, now 43.
He said Woody and Soon-Yi hardly knew each other until shortly before their affair started in 1991. Soon-Yi herself said Woody was never a father-figure, just her mother’s boyfriend. She also accused Mia of having violent rages, even hitting her across the head with a chair, causing her to lose partial hearing.
Farrow’s adopted son Moses (pictured) said in an interview with People magazine that Mia had been abusive to him growing up, which she denied. He has also defended his father against the abuse allegations against him
Moses wrote: ‘It was my mother who first suggested, when Soon-Yi was 20, that Woody reach out and spend time with her. He agreed and started taking her to Knicks games. That’s how their romance started.
‘Yes, it was unorthodox, uncomfortable, disruptive to our family and it hurt my mother terribly. But the relationship itself was not nearly as devastating to our family as my mother’s insistence on making this betrayal the center of all our lives from then on.’
But Mia she claimed Allen took Dylan to an attic and abused her ‘I didn’t want him to do it, mama,’ Dylan tells her mother in the home movie. ‘I didn’t like it.’
Allen has always maintained his innocence, claiming that Dylan either fabricated the abuse allegation or was coached by Mia because of her jealousy about his relationship with Soon-Yi.
Authorities in Connecticut found there was probable cause to charge Allen with first- and fourth-degree sexual abuse for penetrating Dylan both vaginally and anally but decided against charging him ‘to avoid the unjustifiable risk of exposing a child to the rigors and uncertainties of a questionable prosecution.’
Among the accusations against Allen was that he rubbed lotion between Dylan’s buttocks and he kissed her all over so much that her body was wet with his slobber. He allegedly slept in the same bed as her wearing just jockey shorts and would have her suck on his finger.
Dylan is said to have asked her mother: ‘Why does daddy act like a boyfriend to me?’ and when the children were playing a game of Robin Hood, she took the role of Maid Marion but insisted that the boys were all Friar Tuck not Robin because ‘I don’t want any boyfriends or love games.’
Mia tried to warn Woody away from Dylan, sticking a note on his door saying he had ‘molded one daughter and now had his eye on another.’
But Allen defender Friedman contends that Dylan has no actual memory of what happened. ‘She has no idea if what she’s saying is true, she just believes it,’ he writes.
‘If Dylan were to look at this series with an objective eye, she might see the holes in the story. There is no ”evidence” of wrongdoing. It’s just anecdotal smears from Mia’s friends – ”Woody was too close to Dylan. He was obsessed.”
‘What utter hogwash,’ says Friedman. ‘The reality is he was an older father, and he loved his kids. Period.’
Allen has always maintained his innocence, claiming that Dylan either fabricated the abuse allegation or was coached by Mia because of her jealousy about his relationship with Soon-Yi. (Mia with Dylan in 2016). Son Ronan Farrow (right) supports his mother and sister Dylan
Moses claims Woody and Soon-Yi hardly knew each other until shortly before their affair started in 1991. Soon-Yi herself said Woody was never a father-figure, just her mother’s boyfriend. She also accused Mia of having violent rages, even hitting her across the head with a chair, causing her to lose partial hearing
Moses ridiculed his sister’s account that Allen told her to lay on her stomach and play with her brother’s electric train set.
‘Then he sexually assaulted me,’ claimed Dylan. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies.
‘I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.’ Moses said: ‘It’s a precise and compelling narrative, but there’s a major problem: there was no electric train set in that attic. There was, in fact, no way for kids to play up there, even if we had wanted to.
‘It was an unfinished crawl space, under a steeply angled gabled roof, with exposed nails and floorboards, billows of fiberglass insulation, filled with mousetraps and droppings and stinking of mothballs, and crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes. ‘The idea that the space could possibly have accommodated a functioning electric train set, circling around the attic, is ridiculous.’
But Ronan, 33, who was one of the first to expose serial rapist Harvey Weinstein leading to the #MeToo movement, takes the exact opposite position to his older brother.
When the Golden Globes honored Allen with a montage of his work in 2014, Ronan tweeted: ‘Missed the Woody Allen tribute — did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?’
Two years later he wrote in the Hollywood Reporter: ‘I believe my sister. This was always true as a brother who trusted her, and, even at 5 years old, was troubled by our father’s strange behavior around her: climbing into her bed in the middle of the night, forcing her to suck his thumb — behavior that had prompted him to enter into therapy focused on his inappropriate conduct with children prior to the allegations.
‘But more importantly, I’ve approached the case as an attorney and a reporter, and found her allegations to be credible. The facts are persuasive and well documented.’
Whatever the truth, Allen’s career has now crashed — although it took years for it to happen. After he was first accused of assaulting Dylan he was nominated for nine Oscars, winning one for best original screenplay for 2012’s Midnight in Paris.
But over the past couple of years, he has found it increasingly difficult to get funding or distribution for his movies and other projects. Amazon pulled out of a $54 million, four-picture deal. Hachette dropped his memoir.
He told The Mail on Sunday last year: ‘I don’t feel vindicated because that is to imply I was concerned and — I don’t wish to seem callous — but I am not. 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.’
All of Mia Farrow’s 14 adopted and biological children
Mia and Andre Previn pictured with Matthew and Sascha in 1971
Twins Matthew and Sascha Previn are Mia’s first biological children born in 1970 with composer Andre Previn. Matthew is now a lawyer and Sascha graduated from Fordham University.
Lark Song Previn was adopted in 1973 by Mia and Andre Previn. She was the first adopted child of the family. Lark died at age 35 in 2008 due to HIV or AIDs. Lark made headlines when she and her sister Daisy were arrested for shoplifting Christian Dior lingerie from a store in Connecticut.
Fletcher Previn was born in 1974 and is the third biological child of Mia and Andre Previn. He is believed to not have had a good relationship with Woody Allen.
Fletcher Previn and Mia are pictured in 2013 together
Summer ‘Daisy’ Song Previn was adopted in 1976 by Mia and André. Faisy and Lark made headlines when they were arrested for shoplifting Christian Dior lingerie from a store in Connecticut.
Soon-Yi Previn was adopted in 1978 from Korea by Mia and Andre. Mia split with Woody Allen in 1992, after she found out he was having an affair with Soon-Yi. Allen and Soon-Yi later married and have been together ever since.
Summer ‘Daisy’ song Previn and Lark Previn are pictured with Mia in 1991 (left)
Moses and Mia Farrow pictured in March 2002
Moses Farrow was adopted in 1980 by Mia and Woody Allen. He has spoken out about his mother and claims that she ‘brainwashed’ the children into believing Woody abused Dylan.
Dylan Farrow was adopted in 1985 and co-adopted by Woody Allen. She claims she was sexually abused by Allen as a seven-year-old girl.
Ronan Farrow and Mia Farrow pictured in New York City in an undated photo
Satchel ‘Ronan’ O’Sullivan Farrow was born in 1997 and is the youngest of the four boys that Mia gave birth to. He is the only biological child of Mia and Woody Allen although there has been speculation that Ronan is actually the love child of Mia and Frank Sinatra. He is now a journalist who broke the story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations.
Tam Farrow was adopted in 1992 from Vietnam and was blind. She was adopted just a month after the affair between Woody and Soon-Yi became known. Reports cite an accidental overdose and heart failure due as her cause of death in 2000, although Moses said she killed herself deliberately.
Isaiah Farrow was adopted in 1992 by Mia solely.
Quincy Farrow was adopted in 1994 by Mia solely.
Mia with her children at the Anne Frank Center June 12, 1996 in New York City
Mia Farrow puts her arm around her adopted son Thaddeus as they participate in the global summit on polio eradication Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2000
Thaddeus Wilk Farrow was adopted in 1994 from India. He was a paraplegic and named Thaddeus Wilk in honor of judge Elliott Wilk who helped Mia win custory against Woody Allen. Thaddeus died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in 2016 at age 27.
Frankie-Minh Farrow was the last adopted Farrow child and was taken in in 1995. He is believed to have been named after Frank Sinatra.