Mia Farrow: A Chronicle of Crazy
The Farrow family has endured more than its fair share of drama and scandal. Mia’s father, writer and director John Farrow, was a known “alcoholic” and “legendary womanizer.” She and her six siblings had an “unhappy upbringing” in Hollywood and were largely raised by nannies.
At 19, Mia began dating 48-year-old Frank Sinatra. Despite the nearly thirty-year age difference, the two married. Coming from a troubled family and often missing the presence of her father, Mia admits Sinatra became “a father figure” to her. Their tumultuous relationship quickly fell apart, and he served her with divorce papers while she was filming “Rosemary’s Baby” with Roman Polanski. (Interestingly, she later stood by the controversial director, and defended him after he was arrested for statutory rape).
Within a year, Mia began an affair with Andre Previn, who was 16-years her senior. Andre’s wife Dory welcomed Mia into their home. Mia responded by becoming pregnant with Andre’s child and breaking up his family.
Mia’s actions caused Dory to have a mental breakdown. She went on to write a song about her one-time houseguest called “Beware of Young Girls.” The song starts with “Beware of young girls / Who come to the door / Wistful and pale of twenty and four.”
Mia and Andre had three biological children (Matthew, Sascha and Fletcher) and adopted three more (Lark, Summer aka “Daisy,” and Soon-Yi). After the couple divorced, she adopted two more children (Moses and Dylan, both of whom Woody Allen later co-adopted). Unsurprisingly, given how many children there were, they often got into trouble, including shoplifting and forging checks.
After she and Woody had started to date, she gave birth to another biological child, her son Satchel, who now calls himself “Ronan.” Mia recently suggested that “Ronan” may actually be Frank Sinatra’s son – a bogus claim that has greatly angered Sinatra’s family.
Moses has painted a heartbreaking picture of his childhood, claims that his mother often bullied the children, going into “unbridled rages” if they angered her. He lived in a constant state of anxiety that his worst fear as an adopted child would come true and he would be removed from the family.
Soon-Yi has also described her childhood in similarly shocking terms. She was physically and emotionally abused by her mother, held upside because Mia thought “blood going to my head would make me smarter or something.” Mia also regularly screamed at Soon-Yi, and would hit her and throw objects at her.
After Woody and Mia split up and her ex-boyfriend began to date Soon-Yi, Mia became irate – and desperate for revenge. Moses has talked about how his mother “drummed it” into him to hate Allen, saying that he only later realized it was “a vengeful way to pay him back for falling in love with Soon-Yi.”
In the midst of it all, Farrow adopted two more children, Tam and Isaiah, and eventually added another three: Gabriel (who later changed his name to Thaddeus), Kaeli-Shea and Frankie-Minh, bringing the total to 14. She gave Gabriel the middle name Wilk after Elliott Wilk, the controversial judge who presided over the custody battle.
Mia’s boatload of children have faced a ton of problems – unsurprising given how little time she must have had to care for each of them. In 2000, when she was 19-years-old, Tam, one of Farrow’s adopted daughters, died of cardiac arrest, a death that many believe was suicide.
Lark Previn struggled with drug abuse and contracted HIV/AIDS. Family friends claimed Lark began using drugs in her late teens due to the strains of living with Mia in the early 1990s. She died in 2008 from complications of the disease, leaving behind two HIV-positive daughters. Despite Mia’s wealth, they have “grown up in near poverty.”
In 2016, Farrow’s adopted son Thaddeus also committed suicide.
Mia’s children haven’t been the only Farrows marked by tragedy and scandal: in 2009, her older brother Patrick committed suicide. And in 2013, her other brother, John Charles Villiers-Farrow, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for repeatedly sexually abusing two 10-year-old boys.