Strange facts about Woody Allen's relationships

Iconic filmmaker Woody Allen has been married to Soon-Yi Previn for 20 years, which in itself is unusual, because most Hollywood marriages don't even last half of that time. But there are a lot of even stranger aspects to this coupling … and some of them are also at least slightly disturbing. We'll start with the obvious: Allen is married to his ex-girlfriend's daughter.

Before dating Allen, actress Mia Farrow and ex Andre Previn adopted a Korean daughter named Soon-Yi Previn. After Farrow and Andre plit, Woody Allen dated Farrow from 1980 to 1992. Though Allen and Farrow never lived together nor married, they shared one biological child, son Satchel (now Ronan Farrow), as well as adopted daughter Dylan Farrow and adopted son Moses Farrow. Farrow and Allen's relationship ended when she discovered him taking up with Soon-Yi Previn, and that's just scratching the surface of Woody Allen's unusual relationships.

He was married to his first wife as he courted his second

Woody Allen was married to Harlene Rosen from 1956 to 1962, and during that time, he met his second wife, actress Louise Lasser, who was seeing a friend of his when they met. Lasser told The Toast that her relationship with Allen developed before he divorced Rosen, and that she and Allen married "five or six years later." They wed in 1966, which would mean they began their affair in 1960 or 1961. 

Similar to Allen's relationships with teenagers and current wife Soon-Yi Previn that he would embark on later, Lasser said Allen would "show me everything he knew." She also described Allen as "possessive" and said their relationship never truly ended until several years after they divorced. "It's all some mish-mosh, because you're at those ages that you don't know what's going on anyway. You don't string it together yet. We'd break up. We lived right around the corner from each other. I think I would break up, and then within a very short period of time we'd bump into each other on the street, and I'd start to cry, like, 'Why did we do that, break up?' … It was adolescent, things seem so exciting and great and then at the same time you don't know what's going on." 

They're still friendly, and she says she's celebrated Thanksgiving with him and Previn at their home.

His daughter accused him of molesting her

In 1993, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's daughter, Dylan Farrow, then 7, accused the director of molesting her. Allen vehemently denied the allegations, accusing Mia of coaching Dylan to get revenge on him for his relationship with her adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. The Los Angeles Times reported that law enforcement and sexual abuse experts at Yale-New Haven Hospital investigated the accusations. A prosecutor claimed there was "probable cause" to prosecute Allen, but reportedly declined to press charges in order to save Dylan the trauma of a trial.

Dylan recalled the allegations again in 2014 in The New York Times and in a CBS This Morning sit-down in January 2018. Allen issued a statement to CBS News in 2018, reasserting that investigators had "independently concluded that no molestation had ever taken place. Instead, they found it likely a vulnerable child had been coached to tell the story by her angry mother during a contentious breakup." He added, "Dylan's older brother Moses has said that he witnessed their mother doing exactly that — relentlessly coaching Dylan, trying to drum into her that her father was a dangerous sexual predator … I never molested my daughter — as all investigations concluded a quarter of a century ago."

He says he's a 'pariah' of the #MeToo movement

In September 2018, the typically reserved Soon-Yi Previn agreed to participate in a profile written by an admitted fan and close friend of Woody Allen in New York magazine's Vulture. In that piece, Previn accused Mia Farrow of abusing her as a child and denied that Woody Allen did anything untoward during their courtship. When asked how their relationship began, she said, "I think Woody went after me because at that first basketball game I turned out to be more interesting and amusing than he thought I'd be. Mia was always pounding into him what a loser I was."

Previn later added, "We talked quite a bit and to the best of my memory I came in from college on some holiday and he showed me a Bergman movie, which I believe was The Seventh Seal, but I'm not positive. We chatted about it, and I must have been impressive because he kissed me and I think that started it. We were like two magnets, very attracted to each other."

Elsewhere in the piece, Previn slams Mia and Dylan Farrow's allegations against her husband, and Allen refers to himself as a "pariah" of the #MeToo movement. Dylan responded with a heated statement reiterating her molestation claims and adding, in part, "The idea of letting a friend of an alleged predator write a one-sided piece attacking the credibility of his victim is disgusting."

He dated a high school student when he was in his 40s

Stacey Nelkin dated Woody Allen when she was a 17-year-old high school senior and Allen was 42, but she doesn't believe their relationship was predatory — and has also vehemently defended Allen against the sexual abuse allegations against him from daughter Dylan Farrow, claiming it was a ploy for publicity for brother Ronan Farrow's MSNBC show.

"I do believe that Dylan believes that this actually happened to her, so she's clearly in a lot of pain and very troubled about it," Nelkin told HuffPost Live (via The Wrap) in 2014. "But I chose to speak out because I was very disturbed by this and I've known Woody for a really long time. Before, during this and after all of these accusations." She added, "I do not believe that this happened and I do believe that she made this up."

Despite defending Allen against Dylan's allegations, her position on his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn is less glowing. "I think a lot of people, including a lot of my friends and some close family members are failing to make the distinction that a man who likes younger women is not necessarily a man who is going to molest a child," Nelkin said. "That because he perhaps didn't have boundaries and went after his girlfriend's adopted daughter, which, believe me, I think was absolutely horrible … that does not mean he is a child molester."

Mariel Hemingway says he tried to seduce her when she was a teen

Stacey Nelkin wasn't the only teenager Allen allegedly attempted to seduce. Mariel Hemingway, who starred in 1979's Manhattan, claimed in her memoir that Allen tried to woo her when filming wrapped. In Out Came the Sun (via Fox News), Hemingway claims she was 18 years old (and still embarrassed by all the sexual themes of the film in which she'd starred) when Allen asked her to go to Paris with him.

"Our relationship was platonic, but I started to see that he had a kind of crush on me, though I dismissed it as the kind of thing that seemed to happen any time middle-aged men got around young women," she wrote, adding that she told her parents she wasn't sure what Allen's motives were for the trip. "I wasn't sure if I was even going to have my own room. Woody hadn't said that. He hadn't even hinted it. But I wanted them to put their foot down. They didn't. They kept lightly encouraging me."

Hemingway said she realized, "No one was going to get their own room. His plan, such as it was, involved being with me." She told Allen, who was staying in her family's guest room at the time, that she wasn't going to Paris with him, and he supposedly left her family's Idaho home via a private jet the next morning.

He allegedly romanced a 16-year-old while dating Mia Farrow

In December 2018, a woman named Christina Engelhardt told The Hollywood Reporter that she had an eight-year-long affair with Woody Allen that began in 1976 when she was 16 years old to his 41. Engelhardt claims she approached Allen first, giving him her number when she spotted him at a restaurant. She alleged Allen knew she was in high school when they began seeing each other. 

Engelhardt claimed in her memoir manuscripts (obtained by The Hollywood Reporter) that she was deeply hurt when Allen introduced her to Mia Farrow as his girlfriend. "It wasn't until after it was done when I really had time to think of how twisted it was when we were together … and how I was little more than a plaything," Engelhardt said. "While we were together, the whole thing was a game that was being operated solely by Woody so we never quite knew where we stood." That said, Engelhardt says she has no regrets and views their relationship as a "love story."

He thinks Frank Sinatra may have fathered Ronan Farrow

During Woody Allen's relationship with Mia Farrow, they welcomed son Ronan Farrow (then known as Satchel) — but since their split, both Allen and Mia have expressed doubts that Allen is Ronan's biological father. "I think he is [my child], but I wouldn't bet my life on it," Allen told Vulture in September 2018. "I paid child support for him for his whole childhood, and I don't think that's very fair if he's not mine." 

Mia admitted to Vanity Fair in 2013 that Frank Sinatra is "possibly" Ronan's father. A year later, Allen also addressed the issue in The New York Times: "Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra's? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say?" 

What does Ronan think of all this? "You know, I wasn't there, so I don't have a lot more to offer than you," he told Vulture.