Woody Allen has defended his relationship with wife Soon-Yi Previn.

Soon-Yi was 21 and the adopted daughter of Woody's former partner Mia Farrow when she and the then 56-year-old director first got together and although Woody admits it looked like ''an exploitative situation'', he insisted that was ''never the case''.

Speaking to The Mail On Sunday's Event magazine, Woody said: ''I admit, it didn't make sense when our relationship started. On the surface we looked like an irrational match. I was much older and she was an adopted kid.

''It looked to the outside world that it was an exploitative situation - that I would exploit her as an older predatory male, and she would exploit me for whatever I had. That was never the case.

''In the past, I had always gone out with actresses, but for whatever inexplicable reason, with Soon-Yi it worked.''

And he insisted that he and Soon-Yi - who tied the knot in 1997 - did not allow the controversy over their relationship to affect them.

He said: ''We didn't let it. My view was always that most relationships don't work, which is why people have affairs. But then you can marry, divorce, marry, divorce, or you can go out with 56 people and if you are lucky might find the right one, and that happened to me.''

Meanwhile, Woody has been the subject of abuse allegations made by his former partner Mia's adopted daughter Dylan but he insisted that he and Soon-Yi would never have been allowed to adopt their own children Bechet, 22, and Manzie, 20, if the claims were true.

He said: ''Nobody just lets you adopt kids. If the authorities think there is a problem, they will not hand a child over. It is a correct process. You are investigated thoroughly each time.''