The Heart Wants What It Wants

From his Fifth Avenue penthouse, Woody defends his love for Soon-Yi and heatedly denies allegations of child abuse

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Q. How could you get involved with someone who was almost a daughter?

A. I am not Soon-Yi's father or stepfather. I've never even lived with Mia. I've never in my entire life slept at Mia's apartment, and I never even used to go over there until my children came along seven years ago. I never had any family dinners over there. I was not a father to her adopted kids in any sense of the word.

Q. But wasn't it breaking many bonds of trust to become involved with your lover's daughter?

A. There's no downside to it. The only thing unusual is that she's Mia's daughter. But she's an adopted daughter and a grown woman. I could have met her at a party or something.

Q. Were you still romantically involved with Mia when you became interested in Soon-Yi?

A. My relationship with Mia was simply a cordial one in the past four years, a dinner maybe once a week together. Our romantic relationship tapered off after the birth of Satchel, tapered off quickly.

Q. What was your relationship with Soon-Yi when you first started going over there to visit your children?

A. I never had a single extended conversation with her. As a matter of fact, I don't even think she liked me too much. The last thing I was interested in was the whole parcel of Mia's children.

Q. Why did you want to have children with Mia?

A. I didn't. She adopted Dylan, I didn't. But a month after she was there, I found myself bonding with her. She was just the greatest little girl. Suddenly I got tuned into the joys of parenthood. When Mia said it would be nice if she had someone else, I think I'll adopt another child, I said great. And coincidentally she got pregnant shortly after that. I was delighted.

Q. But then what happened to your relationship?

A. The relationship was starting to wane anyhow. Dylan's arrival sort of resuscitated it for a while; we had something in common, co-parenting the kids. But when Satchel came along, it drifted down to a polite and cordial end.

Q. But didn't you become a father surrogate to the children she had adopted with Andre Previn?

A. I was not involved with the other kids. They had their own father. I didn't spend much time with them, particularly the girls. I spent absolutely zero time with any of them. This was not some type of family unit in any remote way.

Q. Soon-Yi never treated you as a father figure?

A. Not remotely. She never said two words to me. For years I thought Soon-Yi was studying to be a nun. She was going to Sacred Heart, so I thought, well, I had no idea what she was doing. I was only interested in my own kids.

Q. Don't you worry about what the children might feel when their dad is sleeping with someone they consider a sister?

A. I don't think they think of "sleeping with." They only know what is constantly drummed into them. And I don't think my children feel any lack of affection or any rivalry. Soon-Yi and I will be very, very cognizant of their situation and feelings.

Q. Is Soon-Yi mentally handicapped in some way, as some have said?

A. No! Am I going to spend my time with a mental deficient? I mean, use your head. What would be the interest? She is not a mental deficient in any remote way. She goes to college, she is a psychology major, she has a B average.

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