Woody Allen very rarely talks about his personal life – least of all his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn. But the prolific film director has surprisingly broken his privacy in a new interview with NPR, speaking in detail about the dynamic of their 23-year romance, and explaining why their age difference "didn't seem to matter".
"I started the relationship with her and I thought it would just be a fling," he said of Soon-Yi, 44, "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.
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Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have been married since 1997
"She enjoyed being introduced to many, many things that I knew from experience, and I enjoyed showing her those things."
Reflecting on the longevity of their relationship, the 79-year-old continued: "I'm 35 years older, and somehow through no fault of mine of 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 many things. She flourished. It was just a good luck thing."
Woody and Soon-Yi's romance began in 1992, while he was dating her adoptive mother Mia Farrow. Since then his personal life has been a source of huge public interest – not least because he was forced to deny claims of sexual abuse allegations made by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow in a 2014 open letter.
Asked whether he thought that scandal had affected the size of his film audiences, he replied: "I would say no. I always had a small audience. People did not come in great abundance and they still don't, and I've maintained the same audience over the years."
He added that the speculation "has no meaning in the way I make movies too. I never see any evidence of anything in my private life resonating in film".