Now, with Allen’s career in tatters thanks to Hollywood’s zero tolerance mood towards sexual misconduct, the soft-spoken Korean orphan has finally broken her silence. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

New York - For years, Woody Allen had almost nothing to say about his shocking act of leaving Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter, 36 years younger than him.

"The heart wants what it wants," he explained weakly of his deeply unsettling relationship with Soon-Yi Previn.

Even after his personal life was further rocked by bombshell claims that he sexually abused another of the Farrow flock - seven-year-old daughter Dylan, whom Allen had adopted with the actress - the film-maker did little to defend himself.

Apart from a short statement in 1992, Soon-Yi hasn’t uttered a word publicly.

Now, with Allen’s career in tatters thanks to Hollywood’s zero tolerance mood towards sexual misconduct, the soft-spoken Korean orphan has finally broken her silence - along with Woody.

In so doing, she has provided another extraordinary twist in the most toxic family feud in Hollywood, one that has run for more than 25 years and - judging by her comments - shows no sign of letting up any time soon.

Not only has Previn, now 47, defended Allen against claims he molested her younger sister Dylan, and dismissed allegations that she herself was a victim of his predatory instincts, she also insists it was Farrow, not 82-year-old Allen who was the real monster in their household. She mercilessly portrays Farrow as a cruel, violent and neglectful tyrant whose claims that Allen is a cold, calculating paedophile could not be more wrong.

In an in-depth interview in New York magazine that has incensed the Farrow camp - who strongly deny the startling claims made about the Hollywood actress - Previn says she never regarded Allen as her father and was simply swept away by him, though she hadn’t liked him to begin with.

"From the first kiss I was a goner and loved him," she says.

Previn - plucked from a South Korean orphanage by Farrow and ex-husband Andre Previn when she was seven - repeated Allen’s accusations that Farrow has used Dylan as a pawn in her campaign to destroy the man who so cruelly humiliated her.

"What’s happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust," she says. "[Mia] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t."

It was Allen’s pariah status in Hollywood that finally prompted her to speak out, she says.

Though they never married, Allen and Farrow had a 12-year relationship, and she starred in 13 of his films. He adopted two of her adopted children - Dylan and Moses - and they had a son, Ronan, together.

But, in 1992, their partnership turned into Hollywood’s most vicious bust-up after Farrow discovered Allen had taken naked photos of Soon-Yi and that they were having an affair. Months later, he was accused of molesting Dylan - an accusation that has hung over Allen’s career.

The scandal did little to deter actors and producers from working with such a celebrated director - until the comparatively recent outcry over Harvey Weinstein and an array of other powerful men ushered in a less forgiving mood in Hollywood.

"I am a pariah," says Allen, in his first comments on the post- Weinstein era, revealing that even his donation to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was returned without explanation.

"People think I was Soon-Yi’s father, that I raped and married my underaged, retarded daughter."

Previn admits she does have a "little learning disability". But she claims that Farrow would try to teach her the alphabet with wooden blocks only to throw them at her if she made a mistake.

She also alleges that the actress would tip her upside down, "holding me by my feet, to get the blood to drain to my head" because Farrow thought it would make her more intelligent.

Previn claims Farrow - whose spokesperson strenuously rejected accusations of violence and cruelty - would slap her across the face and smack her with a hairbrush. She once threw a porcelain rabbit at her, she says.

From the beginning - when the Previn family lived in a "beautiful" thatched home in Leigh, Surrey (Andre Previn was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra) - she and Farrow were "like oil and water", she says.

Previn recalls her adoptive parents’ "bonechilling tempers" and Farrow’s favouritism among her children. (Farrow and Andre had three biological children and two adopted from Vietnam. Farrow now has 11 children, four biological and seven adopted.)

"Mia always valued intelligence and also looks, blonde hair and blue eyes," she says. She also accuses the actress, who again denies she acted in such a manner, of trying to exaggerate her miserable origins by inventing a story that her biological mother had been a street prostitute.

After Farrow divorced Andre, she moved back to the US Previn says she and her sisters were used as "domestics" and Farrow would regularly leave her children alone at night to stay with Allen.

The mother-and-daughter relationship ended spectacularly in 1992 when Farrow discovered Allen’s naked Polaroids of Soon-Yi, then aged 21, on his mantelpiece.