All Mia's Children: The Tangled Branches of the Farrow Family TreeLatest
After more than 20 years of dormancy, the dirty laundry of the Allen-Farrow-Previn family has gained renewed interest, with accusations of molestation, abuse, and lying being volleyed among members of the clan. The only major change in the situation from when it first made headlines in 1992 is that Farrow’s 14 kids are now all adults capable of telling their side of the story. What happened to them between then and now?
Matthew Previn (b. 1970)
Matthew, Mia’s first biological offspring with then-husband André Previn (the two were married from 1970-79), graduated from Yale and Georgetown Law. He got married in 2003 to a fellow lawyer, with whom he has two daughters, and is a partner at white shoe law firm BuckleySandler LLP in New York City.
Sascha Previn (b. 1970)
Sascha is Matthew’s twin brother. In her 1997 memoir What Falls Away, Mia Farrow wrote that doctors told her that Sascha had “autistic tendencies” and recommended she place him in a residential school. He graduated from Fordham University and studied special education at Dowling College. His 1995 wedding was announced in The New York Times, but he has since divorced and remarried a pediatric cardiologist. They live in Michigan, where he’s a stay-at-home dad to their baby girl.
Lark Previn (b. 1973, a. 1973)
Lark joined the Previn family in 1973 as the first child adopted by Mia Farrow and André Previn. In 1991, Lark became the first of the Previn-Farrow children to wind up in gossip columns when, while a senior at the prestigious Nightingale-Bamford—an all-girls private school in Manhattan—she and her sister Daisy were arrested for shoplifting hundreds of dollars’ worth of Christian Dior lingerie from a store in Danbury, CT. A judge sentenced them to a rehabilitation program. She reportedly struggled with a drug problem. Lark was a key figure in her mother’s custody battle with Woody Allen. She showed up at the New York Post one day in 1992, unannounced, offering an interview in return for learning the whereabouts of her sister Soon-Yi. Later, a former nanny testified that Lark was treated like a “scullery maid” in the Farrow household and that she would be the most likely of the children to write a Mommie Dearest type of memoir.
After two years at NYU Lark dropped out to marry Christopher McKinzie, an unemployed construction worker with a criminal record whom the Farrow family reportedly didn’t like. Lark made a living cleaning houses and in 1996 was diagnosed with AIDS, which she unwittingly passed on to her two daughters. She eventually left McKinzie. She lived in relative poverty (court records indicate a decadelong struggle paying bills) in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn until her death of AIDS-related pneumonia on Christmas Day in 2008. She was 35.
Fletcher Previn (b. 1974)
Fletcher—Mia’s third biological child with André— graduated from Connecticut College in 2000 and works as an executive assistant at IBM. He’s married with two daughters. Described as his “mother’s protector” in a recent Vanity Fair piece, he lives next door to Mia Farrow in Connecticut. (They recently attended Time‘s 100 Most Influential People gala together.) He has said that he Photoshopped Woody Allen out of all of the family photos and edited him out of their home movies.
Summer “Daisy” Previn (b. 1974, a. 1976)
Summer was adopted from Vietnam in 1976 by Mia and André. She renamed herself Daisy at some point in her childhood, in reference to the role her mother played in The Great Gatsby. Like her sister Lark, Daisy had a troubled adolescence, getting arrested for shoplifting, forging checks, and playing hooky from her private, all-girls school in Manhattan. Seventeen at the time of the scandal, she was very vocal in support of her sister Dylan’s allegations against Woody Allen, giving newspaper and television interviews. Later, she dropped out of Wheaton College after a semester and became pregnant by Lark’s husband’s brother, whom she married and later divorced. She went on to get her associates in graphic design from an online university. Today, she’s remarried, lives in Brooklyn, and works as an office manager of a construction company.
Soon-Yi Previn (b. 1970, a. 1978)
The sixth child added to the Previn family, Soon-Yi was adopted by Mia Farrow and André Previn in 1978, just a year before the couple’s divorce. Public records, and her passport, indicate that her birthday is October 8, 1970. However, after news of Woody’s affair with Soon-Yi became tabloid fodder, Mia and the rest of the Farrow family implied in interviews that Soon-Yi’s exact age was not known. In a 1992 interview with Vanity Fair, Mia said that Soon-Yi was “about seven” when she was adopted. In her 1997 memoir, What Falls Away, she claimed that Soon-Yi was five when she was adopted. The ambiguity about her age opened the door to speculation that Soon-Yi was a teenager—or even a minor—when her affair with Woody began, but she was almost 21.
After Mia learned of the affair, she admittedly beat Soon-Yi, reportedly cut up her clothes, and banished her from her home. By the end of 1992, it was revealed that “Soon-Yi is out of the family.” André said of his daughter, “She does not exist.” Her parents stopped paying her college tuition at Drew, where she was in her sophomore year. Woody then picked up the tab. In the summers home from college she lived separately from Woody in her own apartment on the Upper East Side.
At the time of the scandal, many Farrow-Previn insiders and family members speaking to the press presented Soon-Yi as mentally slow, incapable of making decisions for herself, and therefore a helpless victim who was groomed and raped by Woody. Her aunt, Tisa Farrow, would refer to her as having “a double-digit IQ. It’s not like she’s a drooling idiot, but she’s very naive and very immature.” One of the Farrow family tutors told Vanity Fair that Soon-Yi was learning disabled and “very socially inappropriate,” and “has trouble processing information, trouble understanding language on an inferential level [and] misinterprets situations.”
Soon-Yi resented the implications, which she felt robbed her of any agency. In an interview with Newsweek she said:
“I’m not a retarded little underage flower who was raped, molested and spoiled by some evil stepfather—not by a long shot. I’m a psychology major at college who fell for a man who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Mia.”
The family said they didn’t believe the statement came from Soon-Yi, saying she “doesn’t know half those words, what they mean.” Despite the questions about her mental capacity Soon-Yi regularly made the dean’s list at Drew. She graduated in 1995 and went on to get her masters in special education from Columbia University in 1998. She taught fourth grade at Spence, an exclusive private school in Manhattan.
Soon-Yi and Woody married in Venice, Italy, on December 23, 1997. In 1999 Soon-Yi became a mother when the couple adopted a daughter they named Bechet. They adopted another girl, Manzie, in 2000. She’s now a stay-at-home mom living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
More than anyone else in the family, Soon-Yi’s name was irrevocably tarnished by the scandal. She was the butt of many late-night TV talk show jokes, and was mocked in crude, sexist and racist sketches on Mad TV, Saturday Night Live and Howard Stern’s radio show.
By 1997, while working the interview circuit (Oprah, Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, etc.) in support of her memoir What Falls Away, Mia had shifted her story and stopped portraying Soon-Yi as an innocent who was corrupted by a dirty old man. Now Soon-Yi was described as a near sociopath who had been incapable of forming bonds with her mother and siblings, whom, it was said, she would scratch, bite and sometimes try to kill. Her “emotional problems” were often chalked up to her early childhood, during which Mia said she lived like a stray dog on the streets of Korea after being abandoned by her prostitute mother. (The history of Soon-Yi’s biological mother as a prostitute is as pointed as it is confusing. According to Mia, Soon-Yi was found eating out of garbage cans on the streets and spoke “no known language, only gibberish.” How then, would anyone know from where or whom she came?)
While promoting her memoir, Mia told Barbara Walters that she never wanted to see Soon-Yi again and holds her responsible for her affair with Woody. An unauthorized biography of Woody Allen, published in 2000, painted Soon-Yi as a shrewd seductress—a description that smacked of the “dragon lady” stereotype—who aggressively pursued her mother’s boyfriend and lured him into a relationship because she had decided that she could become successful by marrying a rich, older man.
In 2006, Mia spoke of Soon-Yi in another interview, saying:
“She was on the streets in Korea when she was captured and brought to the state orphanage. And in a way I can see from her perspective—a very limited perspective—that she’s improved her situation. She’s got the penthouse and the seat at Elaine’s [restaurant] or, whatever I had, she has.”
Moses Farrow (b. 1978, a. 1980)
In 1980, Moses was a two-year-old orphan with cerebral palsy from Korea when he was adopted by Mia—now divorced from André Previn—as a single mother. Moses was later adopted by Woody Allen in 1991. After a 1992 custody battle between Mia and Woody, 14-year-old Moses was allowed to choose whether he wanted have visitation with Woody, which he declined. He attended Dalton, the prestigious private prep school in Manhattan, then moved on to Sienna College for undergrad, and The University of Connecticut for grad school. He lives in Connecticut, where he has been a licensed family therapist for the past decade. According to his LinkedIn “[h]e has chosen to work in intensive programs focused on children and families such as the Intensive In-home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS) and Intensive Family Preservation (IFP),” and he works as an adoption counselor. He is also a freelance photographer. He has a son and daughter.
At some point after 2003, Moses reconnected with Woody and Soon-Yi and became estranged from Mia and many of his siblings. He has since come out in defense of Woody, telling People, “My mother drummed it into me to hate my father…I see now that this was a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.” Moses, who was a teenager at the time, was there on the day that the incident of Dylan’s molestation was alleged to have taken place, but says, “Of course Woody did not molest my sister.”
Moses’ most recent comments are consistent with what he privately told his nanny of seven years back in 1992. He also charged that Mia would go into “unbridled rages” when angered, and that she often would hit him. After Moses came forward to deny the molestation, Dylan responded by denying that he had been beaten by Mia. “My brother is dead to me,” she said.
Dylan “Malone” Farrow (b. 1985, a. 1985)
Dylan was born in Texas and adopted by Mia in 1985 after her attempts to conceive a child naturally with Woody were unfruitful. Woody formally adopted Dylan in 1991. Like some of Mia’s other children, Dylan changed her name several times (first to Eliza, then to Malone), which Mia attributes to maybe being “an Irish thing.”
After the 1992 scandal faded from the public spotlight Malone attended Brearley, an all-girls private school considered by many to be the most intellectually elite in Manhattan. High school and college were rough for her, emotionally. When her sister Tam died in 2000, Malone fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide. She told Vanity Fair that her depression deepened after the two occasions that Woody tried to contact her in adulthood. Once, when she was 18, he sent her a letter asking if they could meet. She didn’t respond. Later, when she was at college, he sent a manilla envelope filled with photos of him and her, with a note saying he still thought of her as his daughter.
Malone graduated from Bard in 2007, got married in 2010, and currently works as a freelance graphic designer in Florida. She lived in relative anonymity until she spoke publicly about the molestation allegations for the first time as an adult for an October 2013 Vanity Fair story. In February 2014 she wrote an open letter to the general public, published on the blog of a New York Times writer, reestablishing her claims that she had been “sexually assaulted” by Woody. After Woody responded with an op-ed in The New York Times, Malone issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter saying, “I will carry the memories of surviving these experiences for the rest of my life.”
Satchel “Ronan” Farrow (b. 1987)
Satchel was born to Mia (her youngest biological child) after nearly five years of attempting to conceive a child with Woody. His given name was Satchel, but he later changed it to Seamus before finally settling on Ronan.
A 1993 custody order gave Woody supervised visitation with Ronan three times a week. The judge said Ronan was not allowed to spend the night at Woody’s apartment, nor was he permitted to see Soon-Yi. Ronan and Woody would bake cakes and build model toys. According to Woody in a 1994 interview with Esquire, “[W]hen I’d tell him I loved him, he’d say, ‘I like you, but I’m not supposed to love you.'”
In 1996—with a custody battle still being waged—visitation was suspended after Woody was said to have put both his hands around Ronan’s neck in front of the supervising psychiatrist. A judge ordered that visitation could resume only in the psychiatrist’s office. It was a term to which Woody reportedly would not agree, but Ronan didn’t want to see his father anyway, so visitations ceased.
Shortly thereafter, when he was 11, Ronan started his freshman year at Bard College. (At 15, he was the youngest ever to graduate from the school.) He went on to earn a degree from Yale Law School in 2009. He served as a UNICEF ambassador from 2001 to 2009. He was appointed by the Obama administration as the Special Adviser for Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was a speechwriter for diplomat Richard Holbrooke. By the time he was 24 he was an adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2012 he was named as a Rhodes Scholar. He is rumored to be gay, but refuses to comment publicly on his sexual orientation.
In an October 2013 Vanity Fair interview with his mother Mia, it was revealed that Ronan was “possibly” the son of the late Frank Sinatra and that he has a familial relationship with Nancy Sinatra Jr. That same month he landed a book deal with Penguin Press (a “hard-hitting investigation” into U.S. foreign policy), and MSNBC announced that he will be the host of a new daily one-hour show set to premiere at the end of February 2014.
Tam Farrow (b. 1979, a. 1992)
Tam, a blind girl from Vietnam, was adopted by Mia in February 1992, just one month after learning about the affair between Woody and Soon-Yi. Mia and Woody initially planned on raising the girl together, but their relationship was on shaky ground due to the affair. Woody was still a presence in Mia’s household—up until August 1992—as the former couple attempted to co-parent and hammer out a custody agreement. However, it was by all accounts an acrimonious and emotionally-charged time, which apparently affected Tam. She was rumored to chant, “Woody no goody!” when he was around. Tam evidently had a heart condition and passed away in March 2000 of heart failure.
Isaiah Farrow (b. 1992, a. 1992)
Isaiah was a crack-addicted infant adopted by Mia the same week that she adopted Tam. He is a senior at the University of Connecticut.
Gabriel Wilk Farrow (b. 1989, a. 1994)
Gabriel is a paraplegic whom Mia adopted from India in 1994 and named in honor of Judge Elliott Wilk, who oversaw her custody battle with Woody. He later changed his name to Thaddeus.
Kaeli-Shea Farrow (b. 1993, a. 1994)
The youngest of Farrow’s children, Kaeli-Shea was adopted by Mia in 1994 and initially couldn’t use her arms. She is currently in college in Connecticut and has changed her name to Quincy.
Frankie-Minh Farrow (b. 1989, a. 1995)
Frankie-Minh, who is blind, was adopted from Vietnam by Mia in 1995. She was named after Frank Sinatra.