Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 1970 | Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 2003 | Source: Instagram.com/nellnewman | Getty Images
- The most famous couple in the history of Hollywood was Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
- In 2023, when Woodward reached 93 years old, her diagnosis rendered her unable to recall Paul, whom she had loved for 50 years.
- Right now, her children and granddaughters are here with her.
Joanne Woodward is a well-known actress in Hollywood who has featured in some films, including “The Three Faces of Eve” and “Count Three and Pray.” The iconic star played a woman with multiple personality disorders in “The Three Faces of Eve,” causing her to receive an Oscar.
Her representative put her in touch with Paul Newman in the first place. In the early 1950s, while working together as understudies for the Broadway show “Picnic,” Woodward and Paul developed a close relationship with one another.
Joanne Woodward posing for a photo, circa 1960 | Source: Getty Images
Since Paul was already married, there was no emotional development between them. After eventually meeting one another, the couple spent the next fifty years “passionately in love,” despite the fact that their relationship had its ups and downs.
Their daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund, claims that her parents shared a “rare” passion for one another and an unusual relationship. Soderlund said they laughed more than any other couple she’d ever known and appreciated each other.
Joanne Woodward posing alongside her husband, Paul Newman, circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images
The couple was married for 50 years before Paul passed away in 2008 at 83. One of the things that threw the couple off was the shame that the actor from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” carried for having abandoned his family when he married Woodward. This was one of the things that threw the couple off.
The two individuals were also affected by resentment, tragedy, and substance abuse. A friend of the couple admitted that the two went through challenging times together and that there was “a give-and-take on both sides” but that their loving and close connection ultimately proved to be “unbreakable.”
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward during Sam Shepard Returns To The Stage After 31 Years Absence In a Number in New York City, New York, on December 7, 2004, | Source: Getty Images
After getting a divorce from his first wife, Jackie, in 1958, the “Cool Hand Luke” performer married Woodward in Las Vegas. In addition to the performer winning an Oscar, Paul’s career took off after being nominated for one for the first time in 1959 for his work in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
A friend said he didn’t see his children from his first marriage regularly, which was partially because he was so busy filming. Scott Newman, his son, eventually came to regret his father’s departure and “disliked” his second wife “intensely.”
Paul Newman, with his wife, Joanne Woodward, during his final curtain call in “Our Town” on Broadway on January 26, 2003, | Source: Getty Images
After Woodward and Paul had their three daughters, she placed her professional life on hold for some years in order to focus on raising her children and dealing with her husband’s addictions. A friend of the actor who was aware of his alcoholism and the supposed affair he had with Nancy Bacon in 1969 said the following:
“Most of their arguments centered around his inability to curb it and the trouble he would get into because of it.”
Nevertheless, the fact that Paul worked hard to make amends was the glue that bound the couple together. A reliable source revealed that after understanding his wife’s sacrifices for their marriage and family, the person at issue did his best to meet his duties.
Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman during The Second Annual Barretstown New York City Gala on October 19, 2005, | Source: Getty Images
Woodward’s husband directed and produced several of her films to support his wife’s profession as an actress. The actress, who had a tragically brief life, lost her memory of her love for Paul due to an illness that she experienced later in life.
Joanne’s illness stops her from recalling her love for Paul, but she is still close to her family.
On her 93rd birthday, February 27, 2023, Woodward was given a diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Despite this, she proceeded to celebrate her milestone birthday. In 2007, she was originally given the news of terminal cancer. Days later, while dealing with that, she discovered she had Alzheimer’s disease.
Joanne Woodward at a Celebration of Paul Newman’s Dream to benefit his Association of Hole on April 2, 2012, in New York City | Source: Getty Images
Ethan Hawke, who directed “The Last Movie Stars,” a six-part documentary series about the couple, disclosed that Woodward’s family wanted him to do the documentary because of her diagnosis. The documentary is about the couple’s life together as actors in the film industry. It was important to the actress’s family that the special be broadcast while she was still living so she could watch it.
While Paul referred to his wife as “one of the last great broads,” his wife referred to him as the most romantic and considerate man she had ever known. Paul had dubbed his wife “one of the last great broads.” The actors who shared screen time in “The Long, Hot Summer” from 1958 were a perfect match for one another.
Despite this, Woodward was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which made her unable to remember the wonderful memories she had created with her one true love. In 2015, a close friend of the actress’s family alleged that the actress’s health was “rapidly deteriorating,” with the person adding:
“Joanne will occasionally say she used to be married to someone handsome, but that’s it. She doesn’t even remember the love of her life.”
Following Paul’s death from cancer, his wife began exhibiting symptoms of emotional distress. According to a source, Woodward’s children observed that she was becoming slightly confused and assumed it was due to the depression she was experiencing as a result of the death of her husband.
However, by 2015, Alzheimer’s disease had advanced to the point where she required care around the clock. This was a heartbreaking way to see the actress, as the insider disclosed that she hardly spoke and barely recognized her daughters, Nell, Melissa, and Claire, as well as her grandchildren.
However, her children remained by her side, and the source stated that Melissa was a “godsend” for the situation. The celebrity’s daughter had a healthcare staff that kept her children updated on her condition while she was residing in her parents’ former Connecticut home, which was next door to Woodward’s home.
The Adler Geriatric Evaluation Center at Yale University treated patients for Paul’s wife when she was there for treatment. The actress participated in a drug trial that resulted in a weight increase; however, it was highly unlikely that she would return to that weight because her children believed that she had reached her physical limit with the drug.
Nell chose to honor her mother by posting a current photo of her on Instagram in honor of Mother’s Day in 2022. Even though it was apparent that the actress had gained weight, she continued to exude an air of charm and good health as she beamed happily and was hugged by Nell.
Nell revealed that Woodward was her “best friend of a lifetime” in the caption of the picture that she shared on Instagram. She spoke highly of her mother’s compassion, intellect, patience, and creative ability, stating that it never failed to amaze her.
Clea Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Nell Newman during the Ballet Society Luncheon on March 30, 1973, in Bel Air, California | Source: Getty Images
During the same month, Nell shared a cute photo on her Instagram account that displayed how her mother, Woodward, was still making the most of her life. In the picture, Woodward can be seen dancing with her grandson, Henny. While the actress’s maid focused on ensuring that the actress remained fit and healthy, another conflict was brewing in the background.
Paul’s Kids Battle with Their Charity
Paul had additional children with his first wife and his three children with Woodward. Elinor Teresa Newman, who appeared as Nell Potts in films for children in the 1960s and 1970s, was his first child with the actress. She was born on April 8, 1959.
Paul Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, with their daughters Melissa, 13, and Clea, 9, in an area where they filmed a television special on April 2, 2012, | Source: Getty Images
Nell starred as the lead character in “The Effect of Gama Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” and “Rachel, Rachel,” both of which she played the title part. She had the idea for Newman’s Organics in 1993 when she was serving as the director of the Ventana Wilderness Conservancy in the middle of California. She co-founded Newman’s Own Organics as a subsidiary of Newman’s Own.
After Paul’s passing, Nell’s relationship with Newman’s Own deteriorated, so her business was barred from introducing any new items. Nell’s licensing agreement to use her father’s name and image had expired in 2014, and Newman’s Own, Inc. felt they might want to create an item that competes with Nell’s product.
Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and their daughter Nell Newman at The Riverkeeper 2003 Benefit on May 16, 2003, | Source: Getty Images
She was prevented from working for the company. Rather than risking the jobs of the thirty people Newman’s Organics employed, Nell decided to sell the company to Newman’s Own, Inc. Mellissa Newman, Nell’s sister, was born on September 27, 1961.
Because it was both an honor and a special gift, Claire [“Clea” Soderlund] felt that being a part of Paul’s [Newman] legacy was something to be pleased of.
She also pursued a career in performing, making appearances in movies such as “Hawkins and the New Perry Mason,” “See How She Runs,” “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge,” and “Sometimes a Great Nation.” She wed Raphael P. Elkind in November 1995, and the couple went on to have two sons, Peter and Henry, while Melissa volunteered at a Connecticut women’s prison. Peter and Henry Elkind were named after her.
Melissa, Clea, and Nell Newman at the 10th Annual Scott Newman Gala on November 9, 1990, | Source: Getty Images
Claire “Clea” Soderlund, Paul’s last child, was born in April 1965. She worked in the entertainment business as a post-production consultant on “Mad Men,” “The Big C,” and “Raising the Bar,” as well as a production consultant on “Big Little Lies.”
She served as an assistant producer on “Sharp Objects,” “Big Little Lies,” and “The Big C” in the year 2020, in addition to co-producing “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” in the same year. After marrying Kurt Soderlund, Claire became involved in charitable activities in Westport and other areas.
When Woodward’s daughter was older, she shared with her siblings that their parents taught them the importance of being responsible community members and giving back to those in need early on. Because it was both an honor and a unique present, Claire felt incredibly grateful to be a part of Paul’s legacy.
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