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Woody Allen opens up about Soon-Yi romance

Director Woody Allen is convinced his marriage to Soon-Yi Previn has stood the test of time because she responded well to his "paternal" nature.

Allen's relationship with Previn, who is more than 30 years his junior, began in controversy in 1992 as she was the adopted daughter of Allen's then-partner, actress Mia Farrow.

Farrow dumped Allen when she discovered nude photos he had taken of Previn, and in 1997 the unlikely couple became husband and wife.

Allen admits the scandalous start of their romance prompted Previn to turn to him for support, and it was his fatherly nature which brought them closer together.

During an interview with National Public Radio presenter Sam Fragoso, the 79 year old explains, "I lucked out in my last relationship. I've been married now for 20 years and it's been good. I think that was probably the odd factor that I'm so much older than the girl I married. I'm 35 years older, and somehow, through no fault of mine or hers, the dynamic worked. I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal."

Allen said he was attracted to "her youth and energy" and loved providing her counsel.

"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 so many things. She flourished. It was just a good luck thing."

He did admit, however, that he initially considered the relationship just a "fling", but soon discovered they had found real love.

"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. And the age difference didn't seem to matter. It seemed to work in our favour actually."

AAP

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