NEW YORK -- Woody Allen said Monday he took 'graphically erotic' photographs of Soon-Yi Previn, the 21-year-old adopted daughter of his former lover, actress Mia Farrow, at Previn's suggestion.
When Farrow discovered the nude Polaroids in Allen's apartment, she erupted in 'a cosmic explosion,' Allen said, that still reverberates in the Manhattan courtroom where the former lovers are locked in a bitter battle for custody of their three children.
Allen described the last 5 years of his 13-year relationship with Farrow as 'joyless, sexless,' adding, 'Rightly or wrongly, I started this relationship with Soon-Yi. She was a grown person....I feel I fell in love with her, perhaps not wisely.'
Allen said he and Soon-Yi were in his apartment discussing Christmas presents in the winter of 1991 when he mentioned getting a camera as a gift and she suggested that he take pictures of her 'without her clothes on.'
'I said, 'Sure,'' Allen said emphatically.
'I said, 'Give me your most erotic poses. Just let yourself go,'' he said. 'They (the pictures) came shooting out of the camera and I put them on the mantle,' where Farrow found them the following day.
Copies of the pictures viewed by reporters in the courtroom show a nude Previn sitting on a couch with her legs apart.
When asked by Farrow's attorney Eleanor Alter if he considered them pornographic, Allen said, 'I certainly do not. They are erotic, graphically erotic pictures.'
He said they were taken by two consenting adults and contain 'no action, no instruments, and no other people.''
'I certainly did not take them for purposes of modeling,' he said, refuting an earlier explanation offered by Previn.
Since last August, Allen and Farrow have been engaged in a bitter battle for custody of biological son, Satchel, 5, and two adopted children, 7-year-old daughter Dylan and 14-year-old son Moses.
Alter was scheduled to resume her cross-examination of Allen, who began testifying Friday, Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Farrow was expected to take the witness stand after Allen completes his testimony.
Allen Monday also said Farrow accused him of raping Previn but that he slept with Farrow, at her urging, after she learned of the affair to 'calm her down.'
'I wanted to placate her. She wouldn't let me take the children to my home,' said Allen, who punctuated his testimony with frequent and spirited hand gestures.
'She said let's go to a hotel room and she suggested we sleep together, which I did. I did everything to calm her down,' he said.
Allen said he even lied to Farrow by saying that he would stop seeing Previn. 'I would tell her (anything) as long as she had the children at her mercy.'
But Allen's efforts at placating Farrow apparently failed because she, according to Allen, began telling her 11 children of his affair with Previn.
'She said I was the devil. She said, 'Your father did a terrible thing to Soon-Yi,'' Allen said Farrow.
'She said I did bad things. 'You raped my daughter,'' Allen said Farrow told him.
Allen and Farrow never lived together during their 13-year relationship, instead maintained separate apartments.
Shortly after she learned of the affair, Farrow accused Allen of molesting Dylan at Farrow's Connecticut estate, but child abuse experts from the Yale-New Haven Medical Center in Connecticut last week said in a confidential report that they had found no signs that Allen sexually abused the child.
'I never molested Dylan. I didn't think for a moment that Mia ever thought that I did. I think her response to it has been degrading and criminal,' Allen said Monday.
Farrow's attorneys have called the Connecticut report 'incomplete and inaccurate.'
At present, Farrow has custody of their three children while Allen has visitation rights to see Satchel only. He has not been allowed to see Dylan for the past eight months.
Allen said if given custody, the couple's three children could move into his spacious Fifth Avenue apartment and that he would pay for their education through graduate school.
'Why am I seeking custody? Because I believe firmly, with all my heart, that their best chance in life is in my custodial care,' he said.
'I want what's right for the children, that's all I can tell you.'