Maureen Orth of “Vanity Fair” Reveals More Details from Mia Farrow Interview
(NEW YORK) -- There are new questions this week about one of Hollywood's most famous and famously fractured families. Among them are whether Ronan Farrow, the son of the Oscar-winning director Woody Allen, may actually be the biological child of Frank Sinatra. Ronan's mother and Allen's longtime romantic partner, Mia Farrow, suggested in a recent interview that might be the case.
In the interview with Vanity Fair magazine special correspondent Maureen Orth, Farrow was asked point-blank if her son Ronan Farrow is really Sinatra's son. Farrow responded, "Possibly."
Her response unleashed a tidal wave of speculation. Farrow and Sinatra were once married and the romance reportedly continued after their divorce. Ronan does bear more than a passing resemblance to "Ol' Blue Eyes" Frank Sinatra and, according to Orth, it goes beyond looks.
"He was singing a Steven Sondheim song," Orth told ABC's Nightline in an interview. "It was just the way he moved, the way he sort of was at ease and the way he sort of threw the phrases out there, and I thought, 'Wow, this is pretty professional sounding, and it isn't that far away.'"
Sinatra, the man Farrow calls the "love of her life" in the Vanity Fair interview, was one of the most glamorous stars of his day, and he was behind some of the most iconic songs of his generation.
Sinatra and Farrow met when she was the 19-year-old star of the 1960s TV series Peyton Place. He was 30 years her senior. The two were married in 1966.
But after a year and a half of marriage, Sinatra famously served Farrow with divorce papers while she was shooting the 1968 movie Rosemary's Baby. But their love affair reportedly didn't end there.
"She and Frank had never really completely broken up," Orth told Nightline. "They had remained close throughout the years on and off, and I asked her, 'Is he the great love of your life?' And she said, 'Yes.'"
The two were so close that Orth said the Sinatras treated Ronan like family.
"I also did email Nancy Sinatra Jr., and she was very forthcoming in how much they loved Ronan and consider him a member of the family," Orth said. "He told me that his, that Nancy Sinatra Sr. cooked for him and fussed over him, and I really do think they do consider him a member of their family."
But Frank Sinatra's widow dismissed it as "phony" reports that the late singer may have fathered Mia Farrow's son, Ronan.
"I can't hardly believe that. It's just a bunch of junk. There's always junk written -- lies that aren't true," Barbara Sinatra, 85, who has a home in Rancho Mirage, Ariz., told The Desert Sun.
Woody Allen was the other legendary man in Farrow's love life. Over the course of 12 years, the couple adopted two children, and Allen was a father figure to the others that Farrow had adopted. But only one -- Ronan -- was thought to be Allen's biological child.
Farrow was Allen's artistic muse in more than a dozen movies, including such Oscar-winning classics as 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters. But their collaboration came crashing down during the filming of Husbands and Wives, released in 1992, when Farrow found lewd Polaroids of her adoptive daughter Soon-Yi on Allen's fireplace mantle at his apartment. The scandal became a prolonged tabloid obsession.
Allen and Farrow's break-up hit the entire family hard. Their biological and adoptive children, many with severe disabilities, were devastated, according to Orth.
"The Soon-Yi revelations were absolutely devastating to this family, according to the eight children I spoke to. Not a single one said it was anything less than utterly shocking," Orth said. "Because here he was, the de facto dad in the family for a long, long time. ... So the fact that suddenly their sister ... sort of betrayed their mother and ran off with Woody and he didn't act like anything had gone wrong."
Ronan Farrow was 4 years old at the time, and, according to Orth, always had a difficult relationship with the famed auteur.
"Ronan and Woody seemed to have always been like oil and water," Orth said.
Ronan turned out to be a highly gifted prodigy, and started attending college when he was 11 years old.
"Mia drove him every day to Bard College, which is 90 minutes each way," Orth said. "She told me that she herself got a college education because he was so excited about going to school that he would tell her the whole -- everything that he had learned during the day on the way home."
He went on to graduate from Yale Law School at age 21 and won a prestigious Rhodes scholarship.
But 20 years after Farrow discovered Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi, Ronan remains estranged from Allen, who eventually married Ronan's adoptive sister.
Last year, Ronan tweeted "Happy father's day – or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law's day." His mother retweeted him, adding a simple word: "Boom."
Orth also interviewed another of Farrow and Allen's children, their adoptive daughter Dylan, for her Vanity Fair interview. Now 28, Dylan spoke publicly for the first time about an alleged incident that arose during a heated custody battle. There were allegations that Allen sexually abused Dylan in the attic of the family home when she was 7 years old, which Allen strongly denied.
"These totally false and outrageous allegations have sickened me so that I felt for the sake of all three children I must try to remove them from an atmosphere so unhealthy it can truly leave irreparable scars," Allen told reporters in 1992 when the allegations were first investigated.
"According to what Dylan told me, she truly is terrified of Woody Allen to this day," Orth told Nightline. "She can't bear to even look at one of his pictures in a magazine.
When asked if Dylan explicitly told Orth that Allen molested her in the attic, Orth said, "She told me that she remembers very clearly what happened to her in the attic and what she was wearing when she got there and what wasn't on when she left. ... And so then she told me, 'my advice to the 7-year-old Dylan today would be 'be brave, testify.''"
When asked again to clarify whether Dylan told Orth if she had been molested and not just that she was made to feel uncomfortable, Orth said, "She told me that she was made to feel very uncomfortable."
Woody Allen's representatives told Nightline that Allen continues to categorically deny those charges. They pointed out that at the time, doctors at the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital conducted an investigation, interviewing Dylan, her parents and their nannies, and that they concluded that, in their opinion, Dylan had not been sexually abused.
"There are only two people who know what happened in that attic, Woody Allen and Dylan," Orth said. "They are the only two people."
Criminal charges were never filed against Allen, though in the early '90s, Frank Maco, the Litchfield County (Connecticut) state's attorney at the time, issued a statement saying he did not want to risk exposing Dylan, whom he called the "child victim," to the criminal process. But Allen did lose his custody battle and was only allowed supervised visits with his children.
"Woody went through four different legal proceedings to try to get visitation rights and more visitation rights with both Ronan and Dylan, and Ronan did not want to have anything to do with it," Orth said.
We may never know what happened between Allen and his kids, but what is known is that they are seemingly devoted to their mother.
Ronan and his mother are extremely close and travel the globe to crusade for humanitarian causes together.
"Mia did a very unusual thing. She took in four biological children and 10 adopted children, some with very severe physical and emotional difficulties, and she was able to meld them into a whole family," Orth said. "Of the eight that I talked to, they all said that they were very proud to be part of that family that they consider themselves to be cool and unique."
As to the identity of Ronan's father, Ronan responded to the Vanity article Tuesday with a wink, tweeting, "Listen, we're all 'possibly' Frank Sinatra's son."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio