Just when you thought Woody Allen describing his relationship with his wife as “paternal” was a lot to handle.
Allen recently gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter and in it, he opened up about his upcoming Amazon show (which will star Miley Cyrus), why he doesn’t read about himself in the tabloids and his wife, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen was asked how Previn, to whom Allen has been married for almost 20 years, has changed him, and his answer was troubling.
Speaking to Stephen Galloway, Allen admitted that he was “immune” to the criticism he received upon starting his relationship with Previn, who is the adoptive daughter of Allen’s ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. He continued that he has no idea where Farrow even is these days—”I think she lives in Connecticut. … Or travels for UNICEF or something.”—because he doesn’t keep in touch with her.
Allen was then asked to describe how Previn has changed him. His response (in full):
“Oh, well, one of the great experiences of my life has been my wife. She had a very, very difficult upbringing in Korea: She was an orphan on the streets, living out of trash cans and starving as a 6-year-old. And she was picked up and put in an orphanage. And so I’ve been able to really make her life better. I provided her with enormous opportunities, and she has sparked to them. She’s educated herself and has tons of friends and children and got a college degree and went to graduate school, and she has traveled all over with me now. She’s very sophisticated and has been to all the great capitals of Europe. She has just become a different person. So the contributions I’ve made to her life have given me more pleasure than all my films.”
“You’re saying how you changed her,” Galloway followed up. “How has she changed you?” Allen responded by again saying that Previn has “given me a lot of pleasure,” as well as “a stable and wonderful home life and great companionship.” But as Galloway implied with yet another followup question, Allen still hadn’t answered the original question.
“Changed me?” Allen said. “I don’t know if you could say she changed me. I don’t know if I’ve changed. I might be the same person I was when I was 20. … I seem to have the same habits, the same work habits, the same phobias, the same enjoyments. I don’t think I have changed much over the years at all.”
Over the course of nearly two decades, Allen doesn’t think he’s changed one bit. As for his wife? She’s changed in almost every way—thanks to Allen, apparently. There’s no doubt that Allen, whose net worth is $65 million, has been able to provide Previn with “enormous opportunities.” But isn’t it bizarre that despite spending 19 years with her, he can’t think of a single way in which she has helped him grow?
Sure, he’s experienced a lot of “pleasure” watching Previn grow into the woman she is today, much like a father might feel after reflecting on his daughter’s life achievements. But Allen and Previn have spent an enormous amount of time together. They have two kids together. They’ve endured a media sh-t storm together. Change is inevitable, but all Allen has to say is how much he has changed Previn.
Momentary brain fart or not, Allen’s Hollywood Reporter interview is troubling. Here’s to personal growth, at any age.