'But She's Not Part Of My Family'

Amid a bombardment of tabloid missiles and an outpouring of accusations and counter accusations, Woody Allen met with NEWSWEEK Senior Editor Jack Kroll for three and a half hours in his spacious Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment. There, in a comfortable clutter of books, papers and pictures, he gave his account of his relationship with Mia Farrow, with her children and his, with Soon-Yi, and responded to the accusations of abuse of his adopted daughter Dylan. Excerpts:

Of course not. I'm on record with the most unequivocal denial that you can possibly imagine. It's unthinkable. And with a certain amount of time, that will become clear, and that issue will go by the wayside.

I mean, look at the logic of it. Do you think that on the eve of signing an agreement with Mia in which we had hammered out [custody], I'm going to get in a car, drive up to Connecticut in broad daylight, in an open house with many people walking in and out ... that I'm going to pick that moment in my life to ... to do this thing? I mean it's just, it's just absolutely out of the question completely.

Was I alone with her? No. I play with the kids all the time and I'm in and out of the house and there are always people around. I'm not saying those people have their eyes trained on me every second... But I was never alone at any time.

This is so laughable. First of all, I couldn't find the attic in Mia's house. I mean I have never been in an attic. I'm a famous claustrophobic; wild horses couldn't get me into an attic.

I know things she said, and I'd rather not say them. But she's either been put up to it, or in some frightening way, in an atmosphere rife with hostility toward me and lectures about how evil I am, this has crept into her psyche in some way. Beyond that, I can't say.

Fondling my children?

Well, absolutely, but not in any sexual way. There is no person in the world that will come into court and say anything like that and stand up to any kind of cross-examination. I've been a model, model father with these kids. I mean I'm affectionate like my parents were with me, but that's it.

Mia could have prevented it all. When she accused me of child molestation, I felt that was the time to say I don't want my children in that atmosphere, it's too sick. And that's when I did what I had to do. I never thought about anything but the children. I didn't think about my reputation; I don't care if I never work again, it means zero to me. When that happened, that was so grotesque, and so fraudulent and so sick that I felt I've got to get those children out.

Mia and I were going through the motions of a long-defunct relationship and, you know, I would get up, go there in the morning, play with my kids and then go to work. And then come back at night, play with the kids, put 'em to bed. Mia and I had a civil relationship. We went out to dinner once a week, maybe, but we never did anything together.

I was not remotely close to Soon-Yi. She is the adopted daughter of Andre Previn and Mia. I must have spoken to the other kids in that house a hundred times more than Soon-yi. Soon-Yi was a quiet person, and I never had any interest in her at all. None. And then once, when she was 20 years old or almost 2 1, one night I had no one to go to the basketball game with me, and she wanted to see a basketball game live.

Well, I took her to the game and, we chatted and had a nice time. And she said some things to me about the family that shocked me, and she said, you know, you're not over here enough, so you don't really know, but it's not what you think it is. And we talked, and we got friendly, and a month or so later I said I'm going to the game again, do you want to go? And we went and we had a nice time and, and gradually over a period of time a strictly talking relationship developed. And then only, only long after the relationship was finished with Mia did it very gradually drift into an intimate relationship.

But she's not part of my family. Soon-Yi has a very high-profile father; I was not a father figure to those children. I was a father figure to my own children, period. Those are the three in my will.

Yes, but it's not that they're really sisters.

These are kids who are very, very dependent on Mia. A number of them are orphans, you know. Some of them are her own flesh and blood, but they're completely financially dependent. When she parades these kids on television, what do you think they're going to say? They've got to go home and sleep there, they're dependent on her for food, for school funds, for everything. As they become independent, they will say other things.

I can only tell you this: if you think that I could enjoy myself with a dumb person ... I've done the usual things with Soon-Yi that I would do with any person-screen my Bergman films, go to the ball games, talk. Soon-Yi has a B average in college, she takes literature courses and sociology and psychology courses, and she's fine. I am in no way with a retarded person. She's wonderful company; I couldn't be more delighted with her.

We were sitting around in this room, as a matter of fact, talking about her modeling career and she said would I take some nude pictures of her. I'm not a person that knows much about cameras; I mean I'm not good at that. And I, I took a small amount and left them out, and ... and that was the, um, the origin of ... I mean, there's nothing more to say about that.

That's too absurd for words. There are no sexual acts depicted, there's nobody else in them ... I mean, I think you know, one man's lascivious pose is another man's ... I would say, you know, they were pretty sexy pictures. But what Soon-Yi and I do in our private moments is nobody's business; we're two grown-up people.

I think it's moving along very, very positively and very, very well. It's serious; I see it as a major, maj or situation. I see no limit for it at the moment.

Possible, uh-huh.

Well, that's just a smear. Where, where are these young women? It's absurd, a stupid perception. It just doesn't bear out against the realities, the relationships of my life. I've bee married twice, and have a Ion term relationship with Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. So the four most major relationships of my life are all age-appropriate relationships.

Yes, one could speculate about those things. I mean, there's no way of ever knowing that ... I mean I myself wouldn't know that myself. But, you know, people that have known me for a long time, and have known of the situation, and of Soon-Yi, have said to me: take Soon-Yi and run. They say, you're a lucky guy, she's delighted and happy, and you guys have terrific times together. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

My first wish would be that in some way Mia could find herself, and she and I, going our separate ways, would remain civil with one another, and could be wonderful parents to the children so they would have the benefit of a healthy mother with them and a good father. And my destiny with Soon-Yi, we work out together, she and I, as a totally separate issue.

I realize that this relationship had an unusual provenience, but, you know, so what? So have a million other relationships. I mean, I think it was meant to be, it will triumph.

If tomorrow the entire world said to me: you're a dreadful and evil man and you cannot do any more films, you know, it would mean zilch. I would simply stay home and write, and be very happy, just as long as I'm doing the best thing for my children. I knew as soon as I undertook the suit for their custody that all of this would be upon me and I don't care for one second. It's an enormous burden and a nuisance and dreadful but their well-being means more to me than any of this.

Mia divorces second husband, Andre Previn. Settles in New York with six children.

On her own, Mia adopts Korean toddler with cerebral palsy, Moses Amadeus Farrow. She opens in a Broadway play. One night after the theater, she is introduced to Woody Allen at Elaine's by Michael Caine. Mia is invited to Woody's New Year's Eve Party; in a mob scene, they barely talk.

After a first lunch at Lutece, Mia and Woody begin a long-term relationship. They keep separate apartments on opposite side of Central Park.

Woody and Mia work on their first film together, "A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy," a collaboration that will span 10 years and 13 movies.

Mia adopts Texas-born baby, naming her Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow. The family divides its time between the city and a Bridgewater, Conn., house.

Mia is shattered to discover nude photos of Soon-Yi at Woody's apartment. According to Farrow's family, Woody dismisses it and tries to resume romance with Mia. Woody's sister Letty Aronson denies this; he wanted an amicable breakup.

Mia adopts two new children: Isaiah, 6 months, an African-American boy addicted to cocaine, and Tam, 10, a blind girl from Vietnam.

Allen files suit for custody of Moses and Dylan, both adopted, and Satchel, his biological son, maintaining that he'd been trying for eight months to reach a joint-custody agreement with Mia. He implies that Mia is an unfit mother.

Woody holds an emotional press conference in New York, refuting all charges. Dershowitz claims Woody filed custody suit in order to deflect attention from abuse investigation.

Moses Farrow tells reporters he believes that his father molested Dylan: "That person is capable of doing it to anybody. People like that should be locked up."

Court hearing scheduled on custody suit in New York. Neither Allen nor Farrow is expected to make an appearance.