Woody Allen Says He's "Paternal" Towards His Wife

Although Woody Allen is widely respected as a film director, his personal life has always been controversial, and one of his latest interviews proves why. After Dylan Farrow accused Allen of sexually abusing her as a child last year, Allen sat down with NPR. Allen has been criticized for his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn — former girlfriend Mia Farrow's adopted daughter — and in the interview which took place on July 29, Woody Allen called his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn "paternal" and credited his fatherly influence over her as the reason their marriage has lasted more than two decades.

According to the 79-year-old, their marriage has been successful because 44-year-old Previn "defers" to him, and he frequently bestows upon her the "gift" of decision making. Here's his full quote:

I lucked out in my last relationship. I've been married now for 20 years, and it's been good. I think that was probably the odd factor that I'm so much older than the girl I married. I'm 35 years older, and somehow, through no fault of mine or hers, the dynamic worked. I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal. I liked her youth and energy. She deferred to me, and I was happy to give her an enormous amount of decision-making just as a gift and let her take charge of so many things. She flourished. It was just a good-luck thing.

As for Allen's response to the claims of sexual abuse made by Dylan Farrow, he wrote an op-ed denying the allegations in the New York Times in February 2014. It reads in part,

Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root?
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Later in the interview, Allen went on to say that when their relationship first began, he found the controversy surrounding it "ridiculous." I'm not even going to touch that one, but I will share this bit about when they first started dating:

I started the relationship with her and I thought it would just be a fling, it wouldn't be serious. But it had a life of its own. And I never thought it would be anything more. Then we started going together, then we started living together, and we were enjoying it. And the age difference didn't seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favor, actually. She enjoyed being introduced to many, many things that I knew from experience, and I enjoyed showing her those things.

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