Soon-Yi Previn

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Soon-Yi Previn
Soon Yi Previn at the Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Previn at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Bornc. (1970-10-08) October 8, 1970 (age 49)
Seoul, South Korea
Known for
m. 1997)
Children2 (adopted)
Parent(s)Mia Farrow (adoptive)
André Previn (adoptive)
Soon-Yi Previn
순이 프레빈
Revised RomanizationSun-i Peu-re-bin
McCune–ReischauerSuni Pŭrepin
IPA[sʰun.i pʰɯ.ɾe̞.pin]

Soon-Yi Previn (/ˈprɛvɪn/; born c. October 8, 1970) is the adopted daughter of actress Mia Farrow and musician André Previn, and the wife of filmmaker Woody Allen. Previn is notable for her relationship with Allen, who was her mother's boyfriend for over 10 years. Previn's relationship with Allen became national news in 1992.

Early life and education[edit]

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.[1][2][3][4] Previn has said that as a young child, she wandered the streets of Seoul starving and living out of trash cans.[5]

Prior to Soon-Yi's adoption, U.S. law only 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 bill to change this law. In 1977, the law was changed.[6] In 1978, Farrow and her then husband, André Previn, adopted Soon-Yi and took her to the United States.[7] Just after the adoption, Farrow wrote to Nancy Sinatra about Soon-Yi, stating: "Now she speaks English and is learning to read, write, play piano, dance ballet & ride a horse".[8] Farrow later said that at the time of her adoption, Soon-Yi spoke no known language and had learning disabilities.[9][7] Rose Styron is Soon-Yi's godmother.[9]

In 1979, Farrow's marriage to André Previn ended and she began a long-term relationship with Woody Allen.[10] 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 attended Marymount School of New York and Rider University. She graduated from Drew University[11][12] and earned a master's degree in special education from Columbia University.[9][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,[9] which starred Allen. Previn also appeared alongside Allen in the documentary Wild Man Blues (1997).[14]

In 1992, Previn said that Farrow had physically abused her.[15] Previn's brother Moses Farrow has said that he too was physically abused by Farrow.[16]

Relationship with Woody Allen[edit]

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn in Venice

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.[15] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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 sexual intercourse.[19] A judicial investigation concluded that Allen and Previn started their sexual relationship in December 1991.[17] Farrow contends that she broke off her relationship with Allen in 1992 following her discovery of the affair;[20][9] Previn and Allen dispute that, claiming that Allen and Farrow were no longer dating when Farrow discovered the photos.[15] Previn was a college student when her relationship with Allen began.[21][22] Allen described his relationship with Previn as a "fling" that developed into a more significant relationship.[23] He has called his role in their relationship since their 1997 marriage "paternal".[24][9][7][25] On August 17, 1992, Allen issued a statement saying that he was in love with Previn.[26]

Previn's relationship with Allen became public and "erupted into tabloid headlines and late-night monologues in August 1992."[27] As of 2018, Previn remained estranged from Farrow.[28]

Previn married Allen in Venice on December 22, 1997.[14][13] They have adopted two children together: Bechet Dumaine Allen and Manzie Tio Allen.[23][29] The family resides on Manhattan's Upper East Side.[30]


  1. ^ United States Congressional serial set. 1977.
  2. ^ Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1978.
  3. ^ 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 at between five and seven. In the family, Soon-Yi is considered to have turned 20 this year, on October 8 [1992].
  4. ^ 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.)
  5. ^ Merkin, Daphne (September 2018). "Introducing Soon-Yi Previn". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  6. ^ Wypijewski, Joann (February 26, 2014). "Woody and Mia: A Modern Family Timeline". The Nation.
  7. ^ a b c Callahan, Maureen (January 8, 2012). "The quiet victory of Mia & the kids Woody left behind". New York Post. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  8. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 31, 1992). "Woody Allen and Mia Farrow: Scenes From A Breakup". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Orth, Maureen. "Mia's Story". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "Woody Allen, Wife Soon-Yi And Their Bizarre History: Ronan Farrow Addresses Sex Abuse Allegations At Cannes". International Business Times. May 11, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  11. ^ "Drew University - Profile, Rankings and Data". US News.
  12. ^ Morrissey, Tracie Egan. "All Mia's Children: The Tangled Branches of the Farrow Family Tree".
  13. ^ a b "CNN - Woody Allen marries Soon-Yi in Venice - December 24, 1997". Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Soon-Yi Previn". IMDb. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c "Soon-Yi Speaks: 'Let's Not Get Hysterical'". Newsweek. August 30, 1992. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  16. ^ "Moses Farrow Speaks Out". January 4, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "ALLEN v. FARROW | 197 A.D.2d 327 (1994) | ad2d3271461 |". Leagle. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  18. ^ "After Decades of Silence, Soon-Yi Previn Speaks". September 17, 2018.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Tait, Robert (May 5, 2016). "Woody Allen 'immune' to criticism over affair with former partner's daughter". The Telegraph – via
  21. ^ Taylor, Derrick Bryson (July 30, 2015). "Woody Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi is creepier than you could imagine". Page Six. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  22. ^ Perez-Pena, Richard (March 23, 1993). "Nude Photographs Are Focus Of Woody Allen's Testimony". The New York Times.
  23. ^ a b Fragoso, Sam (July 29, 2015). "At 79, Woody Allen Says There's Still Time To Do His Best Work". NPR.
  24. ^ Silman, Anna. "A history of Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn describing their relationship, from "the heart wants what it wants" to "I was paternal"". Salon. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  25. ^ Winter, Jessica (January 17, 2014). "Did Woody Allen Molest His Adopted Daughter 22 Years Ago". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  26. ^ Weber, Bruce (August 18, 1992). "Public Disclosures From the Private Life of Woody Allen". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "The Unruly Life of Woody Allen".
  28. ^ "Mia Farrow on Soon-Yi: "She's estranged– and strange."". People.
  29. ^ Weide, Robert B. (January 27, 2014). "The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  30. ^ Thurman, Judith (September 21, 2016). "Tour Woody Allen's English Country-Style Manhattan Townhouse". Architectural Digest. Retrieved October 6, 2017.

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