Soon-Yi Previn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Soon-Yi Previn
Soon Yi Previn at the Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Previn at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Oh Soon-hee

c. (1970-10-08) October 8, 1970 (age 52)
Seoul, South Korea
Alma materDrew University
Notable credit
(m. 1997)
Children2 (adopted)
Soon-Yi Previn
순이 프레빈
Revised RomanizationSun-i Peurebin
McCune–ReischauerSuni Pŭrepin
IPA[sʰuni pʰɯɾebin]

Soon-Yi Previn (/ˈprɛvɪn/; née Oh Soon-hee, Korean오순희; born c. October 8, 1970) is the wife of filmmaker Woody Allen. They have adopted two children together.

Born in Korea, she is the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and musician André Previn. According to Soon-Yi Previn and Allen, they began their relationship after he ended his 10-year affiliation with Farrow, when Previn was 21. In 1992, their relationship became national news.

Early life and education[edit]

Soon-Yi Previn (original name Oh Soon-Hee) was born in South Korea. She was found abandoned in Seoul on February 12, 1976, and placed temporarily in Maria's House, a local institution. When authorities failed to locate her parents or relatives, they placed her in St. Paul's Orphanage. The Seoul Family Court established a Family Census Register (legal birth document) on her behalf on December 28, 1976, with a presumptive birth date of October 8, 1970.[1][2][3] A bone scan at the time of her adoption put her age at between five and seven.[2] Previn has said that as a young child, she lived on the streets and got food out of trash cans.[3]

In 1978, Farrow and her then husband, André Previn, adopted Soon-Yi and took her to the United States.[4] At the time, U.S. law allowed two visas per family for international adoption. Her adoptive mother, Mia Farrow, asked her friends Rose and William Styron to have U.S. Representative Michael Harrington sponsor a private bill to enable the girl's adoption to the United States. This bill, HR 1552, was passed as Private Law 95-37 on May 15, 1978, paving Soon-Yi's way to immigrate to the United States.[5][6]

Just after the adoption, Farrow wrote to Nancy Sinatra about Soon-Yi, "Now she speaks English and is learning to read, write, play piano, dance ballet & ride a horse".[7] Farrow later said that at the time of her adoption, Soon-Yi spoke no known language and had learning disabilities.[8][4] Rose Styron is Soon-Yi's godmother.[8]

Farrow's marriage to André Previn ended in 1979. She began a long-term relationship with filmmaker Woody Allen.[9] Allen later adopted two of Farrow's adopted children: Dylan Farrow and Moses Farrow. In 1987, Mia Farrow gave birth to Ronan Farrow, who is Allen's biological son.

Soon-Yi Previn graduated from Marymount School of New York in 1991.[10] After a summer as a salesgirl at Bergdorf Goodman, she began her freshman year as a commuter student at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, in September 1991.[10]

Previn graduated from Drew University[11][12] and earned a master's degree in special education from Columbia University.[8][13]

During her teens, Previn made an uncredited appearance in Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), which starred Farrow. She appeared as an extra in Paul Mazursky's 1991 film Scenes from a Mall,[8] which starred Allen. She also appeared alongside Allen in the documentary Wild Man Blues (1997).[citation needed]

In 1992, Previn said that Farrow had physically abused her.[14] In 2018, Previn's brother Moses Farrow has said that he too was physically abused by Farrow.[15]

Relationship with Woody Allen[edit]

Previn has said that Allen "was never any kind of father figure [to her]" and that she "never had any dealings with him" during her childhood.[14] The findings of the judicial investigation carried out during the custody trial between Farrow and Allen determined that before 1990, Previn and Allen had rarely spoken to each other.[16] According to Previn, her first friendly interaction with Allen took place when she was injured playing soccer during 11th grade and Allen offered to transport her to school. Following her injury, in 1990 Previn began attending New York Knicks basketball games with Allen.[3]

In January 1992, Farrow found nude photographs of Previn in Allen's home. Allen, then 56, told Farrow that he had taken the photos the day before, approximately two weeks after he and Previn had first had sex.[17] Farrow contends that she broke off her relationship with Allen in 1992 following her discovery of the affair.[18][8] Previn and Allen dispute that, claiming that Allen and Farrow were no longer involved when Farrow discovered the photos.[14]

Previn graduated from high school and began college in 1991.[3] According to the birthdate the Seoul Family Court assigned her, she turned 21 in October 1991.[3][19][20] The judicial investigation during the custody trial between Farrow and Allen concluded that Allen's and Previn's sexual relationship began in December 1991.[16] Mia Farrow's friends have said it might have started in the spring or summer of 1991, before Soon-Yi turned 21.[2][20]

Allen described his relationship with Previn as a "fling" that developed into a more significant relationship.[21] But in a 2018 interview Previn said, "From the first kiss I was a goner and loved him."[10] On August 17, 1992, Allen issued a statement that he was in love with Previn.[22] Previn was surprised by his declaration: “I only knew that he loved me when he gave the press conference and said it publicly. Even then, I wasn’t sure if he meant it. We had never said those words to each other.”[10]

When Previn's relationship with Allen became public, it was a catalyst for "tabloid headlines and late-night monologues in August 1992."[23]

Marriage and family[edit]

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn in Venice in 1996

Previn and Allen married in Venice on December 22, 1997; she was 26 and he was 61.[13] They have adopted two daughters together.[21][24] According to her longtime friends, Previn has devoted herself to being a wife and stay-at-home mother.[3] The Previn-Allen family resides on Manhattan's Upper East Side.[25]

As of 2021, Previn remains estranged from Mia Farrow.[26]


  1. ^ Multiple sources:
    • United States Congressional serial set. 1977.
    • Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1978.
  2. ^ a b c Orth, Maureen (November 1992). "Mia's Story". Vanity Fair. Nobody knows how old Soon-Yi really is. Without ever seeing her, Korean officials put her age down as seven on her passport. A bone scan Mia had done on her in the U.S. put her age as from five to seven. In the family, Soon-Yi is considered to have turned 20 this year, on October 8 [1992].
  3. ^ a b c d e f Merkin, Daphne (September 16, 2018). "Introducing Soon-Yi Previn [interview]". She first comes into view in about 1975 as a 5-year-old runaway on the streets of Seoul. (There are no extant records of Soon-Yi's early life, but a document signed by both Mia and André Previn, her adoptive father, ... has her date of birth as October 8, 1970.)
  4. ^ a b Callahan, Maureen (January 8, 2012). "The quiet victory of Mia & the kids Woody left behind". New York Post. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Wypijewski, Joann (February 26, 2014). "Woody and Mia: A Modern Family Timeline". The Nation.
  6. ^ Harrington, Michael J. (May 15, 1978). "Actions - H.R.1552 - 95th Congress (1977-1978): An Act for the relief of Oh Soon Yi". Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 31, 1992). "Woody Allen and Mia Farrow: Scenes From A Breakup". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e Orth, Maureen. "Mia's Story". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  9. ^ Vultaggio, Maria (May 11, 2016). "Woody Allen, Wife Soon-Yi And Their Bizarre History: Ronan Farrow Addresses Sex Abuse Allegations At Cannes". International Business Times. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d Merkin, Daphne (September 16, 2018). "After Decades of Silence, Soon-Yi Previn Speaks". Vulture. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  11. ^ "Drew University - Profile, Rankings and Data". U.S. News & World Report.
  12. ^ Morrissey, Tracie Egan (February 10, 2014). "All Mia's Children: The Tangled Branches of the Farrow Family Tree". Jezebel. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Woody Allen marries Soon-Yi in Venice". CNN. December 24, 1997. Archived from the original on April 14, 2001. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c "Soon-Yi Speaks: 'Let's Not Get Hysterical'". Newsweek. August 30, 1992. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  15. ^ "Moses Farrow Speaks Out". January 4, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "ALLEN v. FARROW". Leagle. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  17. ^ Perez-Pena, Richard (March 23, 1993). "Nude Photographs Are Focus Of Woody Allen's Testimony". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Tait, Robert (May 5, 2016). "Woody Allen 'immune' to criticism over affair with former partner's daughter". The Telegraph.
  19. ^ Farrow, Moses. "A SON SPEAKS OUT". A SON SPEAKS OUT By Moses Farrow. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Rao, Sonia (March 1, 2021). "'Allen v. Farrow': 5 takeaways from the second episode, which focuses on Soon-Yi Previn". The Washington Post.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ a b Fragoso, Sam (July 29, 2015). "At 79, Woody Allen Says There's Still Time To Do His Best Work". NPR.
  22. ^ Weber, Bruce (August 18, 1992). "Public Disclosures From the Private Life of Woody Allen". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Klepp, L.S. (February 18, 2000). "The Unruly Life of Woody Allen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  24. ^ Weide, Robert B. (January 27, 2014). "The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  25. ^ Thurman, Judith (September 21, 2016). "Tour Woody Allen's English Country-Style Manhattan Townhouse". Architectural Digest. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  26. ^ Fernández, Alexia (March 14, 2021). "Mia Farrow Says Woody Allen 'Weaponized' Soon-Yi Previn Against Her: 'I Love' Her". Retrieved November 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)