Woody Allen and Mia Farrow – they were together for what some might call an unlucky thirteen. And while many may have thought an actress and director relationship would be incredibly romantic, what started off strong reportedly ended in scandal and horror.
How Did Woody Allen and Mia Farrow Meet?
Their first encounter had happened only in passing during an otherwise uneventful Californian party. In its aftermath, two sets of letters passed between them. She wrote to congratulate him on his latest picture (Manhattan) and he penned a polite thank you.
Then, sometime in the Fall of 1979, they were properly introduced by actor Michael Caine. A few weeks later, Allen extended an invitation to Farrow for his New Year’s Eve Party. The two had little interaction but she later sent him a thank you note and a copy of Lewis Thomas’s The Medusa and the Snail.
April 17, 1980: Allen and Farrow meet for their first official date – lunch at Lutèce. It was an event arranged by Allen’s secretary who would play buffer for the two during the early days of their courtship.
“I could go on about our differences forever,” Allen claimed during an interview with The New York Times Magazine. “She doesn’t like the city and I adore it. She loves the country and I don’t like it. She doesn’t like sports at all and I love sports. She loves to eat in, early – 5:30, 6 – and I live to eat out, late…”
Parallel and Intersecting Lives
Perhaps most interesting is their geographical preferences. “She likes the West Side of New York; I like the East Side of New York.” For the entirety of their courtship, Farrow resided in a Central Park West apartment situated directly across from Allen’s – during their daily phone calls the two would peer at each other through their windows and wave towels.
“It’s sort of like just enough,” explained Allen at the time. “Perhaps if we were to live together or if we met at a different time in our lives it wouldn’t work. But it seems to be just right.”
Even after the two jointly adopted Moses Amadeus and Dylan O’Sullivan and welcomed Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow into the world, they still chose to remain unmarried and resisted the notion of cohabitation.
In 1982, Farrow accepted the opportunity to replace Diane Keaton in A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Allen’s latest directorial and performance offering. It would prove to be the first in a long line of fruitful joint efforts. Among the subsequent offerings were The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Radio Days (1987), Alice (1990), and Shadows and Fog (1991)
Woody Allen and Mia Farrow – The End
January 13, 1992: While inside Allen’s apartment, Farrow discovered Polaroids depicting her adopted daughter Soon-Yi in explicit poses. Allen apparently declared his love for the young woman but upon being told by Farrow, “Fine… Take her and go,” he instead reversed course and referred to their relationship as a “tepid little affair” that was “probably good for Soon-Yi’s self-esteem.”
He proposed marriage; she slapped him across the face; the family sat together and had dinner. Over the next few weeks, the estranged couple continued their work on Husbands and Wives – a feature directed and starring Allen, who played an adulterous professor. Farrow co-starred as the slighted wife.
August 4, 1992: Allegations of molestation were made against Allen by 7-year-old Dylan. Five days later, Farrow called to meet with the wardrobe supervisor for Allen’s next film, Manhattan Murder Mystery. Despite the claims, she still intended to appear as his co-star.
This, in conjunction with a less than cordial meeting alongside their respective attorneys, led Allen to file for full custody of Moses, Dylan, and Satchel and reveal his ongoing affair with Soon-Yi.
He would later explain to 60 Minutes, “She accused me of child molestation on August 4th, right? And August 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th — you know, the week after, she’s fully saying, ‘When do we begin our new movie? I’m going for my costume fitting next week’ . . . And I said, ‘Are you kidding? You’re accusing me of child molestation, and you think we’re just going to go on with the movie?’ . . . This is insane.”
No sex abuse charges were ever filed against Allen, though his bid for custody was denied. In 1997, he and Soon-Yi married.
August 2018: Farrow explained to Elle magazine that she “reached a place many years ago where I just don’t care about him [Allen],” but conceded that, “It’s not all white or black… Otherwise you’d ask yourself what on earth you’re doing with that person for 10 minutes, let alone for 10 years.”