c. October 8, 1970
Seoul, South Korea
|Alma mater||Drew University|
|Revised Romanization||Sun-i Peurebin|
Soon-Yi Previn (//; née Oh Soon-hee, Korean: 오순희; born c. October 8, 1970) is the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and musician André Previn, and the wife of filmmaker Woody Allen. Soon-Yi Previn is notable for her relationship with Allen, who was her adoptive mother's boyfriend for over 10 years. Previn's relationship with Allen became national news in 1992.
Early life and education
Soon-Yi Previn (original name Oh Soon-Hee) was born in South Korea. She was found in Seoul on February 12, 1976, as an abandoned child. She was placed temporarily in Maria's House, a local institution for abandoned children, while an effort was made to identify and locate her parents and relatives. When the search failed, she was transferred to 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. A bone scan at the time of her adoption put her age at between five and seven. Previn has said that as a young child, she wandered the streets of Seoul starving and living out of trash cans.
At the time of Soon-Yi's adoption, U.S. law allowed two visas per family for international adoption. Her adoptive mother, Mia Farrow, requested that her friends Rose and William Styron ask U.S. Representative Michael Harrington to sponsor a private bill to enable her adoption to the United States. This bill, HR 1552, became Private Law 95-37 on May 15, 1978, paving Soon-Yi's way to immigrate to the United States. In 1978, Farrow and her then husband, André Previn, adopted Soon-Yi and took her to the United States. 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". Farrow later said that at the time of her adoption, Soon-Yi spoke no known language and had learning disabilities. Rose Styron is Soon-Yi's godmother.
In 1979, Farrow's marriage to André Previn ended and she began a long-term relationship with Woody Allen. Allen later adopted two of Farrow's adopted children: Dylan Farrow (also known as Eliza) and Moses Farrow. Mia Farrow also gave birth to Ronan Farrow in 1987.
Soon-Yi Previn graduated from Marymount School of New York in 1991. 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.
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, which starred Allen. She also appeared alongside Allen in the documentary Wild Man Blues (1997).
Relationship with Woody Allen
Previn has said that Allen "was never any kind of father figure [to her]," and added that she "never had any dealings with him" during her childhood. The findings of the judicial investigation carried out during the custody trial between Allen and Farrow determined that before 1990 they had rarely even spoken to each other. 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, Previn began attending New York Knicks basketball games with Allen.
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. Farrow contends that she broke off her relationship with Allen in 1992 following her discovery of the affair; Previn and Allen dispute that, claiming that Allen and Farrow were no longer dating when Farrow discovered the photos.
Previn's exact date of birth is unknown, but she graduated from high school and began college in 1991. According to the date of birth her orphanage assigned her, she turned 21 in October 1991. A judicial investigation used December 1991 as the beginning of Allen and Previn's sexual relationship, but family friends believe it may have started in the spring or summer of 1991. Court testimony from Allen's doorman and housekeeper suggested that Allen and Previn began their sexual relationship during Previn's senior year in high school.
Allen described his relationship with Previn as a "fling" that developed into a more significant relationship, but in a 2018 interview Previn said, "From the first kiss I was a goner and loved him." He has called his role in their relationship since their 1997 marriage "paternal". On August 17, 1992, Allen issued a statement that he was in love with Previn. 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.”
Previn's relationship with Allen became public and "erupted into tabloid headlines and late-night monologues in August 1992." In his 1994 decision regarding the ongoing custody battle between Allen and Farrow, Wilk wrote that he found "the fact that Mr. Allen took [nude photos of Previn] at a time when he was formally assuming a legal responsibility for two of Ms. Previn's siblings to be totally unacceptable...At the very minimum, it demonstrates an absence of any parenting skills."
Previn married Allen in Venice on December 22, 1997. They have adopted two daughters together: Bechet Dumaine Allen and Manzie Tio Allen. According to Previn's longtime friends, Previn has devoted her adulthood to being a wife and stay-at-home mother.
- United States Congressional serial set. 1977.
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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 at between five and seven. In the family, Soon-Yi is considered to have turned 20 this year, on October 8 .
- Merkin, Daphne (September 16, 2018). "Introducing Soon-Yi Previn [interview]". Vulture.com.
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.)
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