Paternity Mystery: Is Ronan Farrow’s Dad Woody Allen or Frank Sinatra?

ABC News Nightline
Nightline FixOctober 3, 2013

Is handsome 25-year-old Ronan Farrow actually the legendary Frank Sinatra's love child?

It's today's celebrity paternity guessing game that has everyone doing a double take. Ronan Farrow no doubt looks a lot like his mother, the actress Mia Farrow.

“He's very much Mia in terms of his porcelain skin and blond hair and intensity of the eyes,” said Maureen Orth, a special correspondent for '"Vanity Fair."

But he's not the spitting image of Woody Allen, the man the world "thought" was his biological father. Until today. In a bombshell "Vanity Fair" interview with Orth, Farrow unleashed a tidal wave of speculation.

“I just asked Mia point blank, ‘Is Ronan Frank Sinatra's son?’” said Orth. “She said, ‘Possibly.’”

He does, in fact, bear more than a passing resemblance to “Ol' Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra. And it goes beyond the looks.

“He was singing a Stephen Sondheim song and 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,” said Orth, “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,” was one of the most glamorous stars of his day -- behind some of the most iconic songs of his generation.

When they met, she was the 19-year-old star of “Peyton Place.” And he was 30 years her elder. They married, but later Sinatra famously served Farrow divorce papers while she was shooting "Rosemary's Baby." But the love affair reportedly didn't end there.

“She and Frank had never really completely broken up,” said Orth. “They had remained close throughout the years on and off and then I asked her, ‘Is he the great love of your life?’ and she said, ‘Yes.’"

They were so close that Ronan Farrow was treated like family by the Sinatras. Of course Woody Allen was the other legendary man in Mia Farrow’s life. Over the course of 13 years, they raised a brood of children together, but only one – Ronan -- was thought to be his biological child.

Mia Farrow was Allen's artistic muse in more than a dozen movies, including Oscar-winning classics like "Hannah and her Sisters.” That collaboration came crashing down during the filming of "Husbands and Wives" when she discovered lewd Polaroids of her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn on Allen’s fireplace mantle. The scandal became a prolonged tabloid obsession.

The break-up hit the whole family. 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.”

Ronan Farrow turned out to be a highly gifted prodigy, going to college at 11, graduating Yale Law School at 21 and winning a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

But 20 years later, he remains completely estranged from Allen. Ronan Farrow once tweeted: “Happy Father's Day. Or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law's day."

As for the questions of his paternity, Ronan Farrow responded with a wink, tweeting: “Listen, we're all possibly Frank Sinatra's son."