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Joanne Woodward Raised All 6 Paul Newman’s Kids Who Got Treated by His Fans as if They Are ‘Nothing’

Edduin Carvajal
Mar 08, 2022
04:20 A.M.
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Although Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman had one of the longest and most beautiful relationships in Hollywood, she was not impressed by him at first sight.

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Academy Award-winning actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were among the greatest Hollywood golden couples. Their love story is unique for many reasons, including that she disliked him as soon as she saw him.

Newman was not looking for love when they met, though. He was married to Jackie Witte and had two children. However, Woodward and Newman were meant to be together.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward circa 1965 [left]. Woodward and Newman with daughters Melissa and Clea in November 1974 [right] | Source: Getty Images

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UNUSUAL FIRST MEETING

Fleeting romances were typical in Hollywood even in the 1950s, but Newman and Woodward proved that fairytale-like relationships were possible in Tinseltown.

When they coincidentally ran into each other at an agent's office in 1953, Newman was married to his first wife, Jackie Witte, and had two kids, Scott and Stephanie, waiting for him at home. 

In an interview with the "Today" show, Woodward described their first meeting in detail. It was an August day so hot that 22-year-old Woodward, sweating in her high heels and gloves, sought relief in her agent's air-conditioned office. 

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Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward circa 1963 | Source: Getty Images

Newman, 28, entered in a pristine seersucker suit shortly after, looking like an "ice-cream soda ad." The actor's stunning blue eyes and thick curly hair were impressive, but Woodward was especially surprised that he was not sweating.

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Woodward and Newman didn't know it, but they would work together in the play "Picnic" – it was his Broadway debut, and she was an understudy.

Although the actor's handsome looks would have melted anyone's heart, Woodward was not impressed. She thought, "that's disgusting," and she was sure Newman was just a pretty face. 

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman on October 31, 1967 in New York | Source: Getty Images

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Newman had the opposite reaction after seeing Woodward. He realized she was beautiful, modern, and independent, contrasting his "shy" and "conservative" personality.

He needed time to convince her he was not "as dull" as he looked. Still, nothing romantic happened between the two because Woodward didn't want to break up his family. 

[Newman's] three children from his first marriage had it particularly worse.

Paul Newman circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images

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Apart from that, Newman and Witte welcomed their third child, Susan, in 1953. Four years later, though, Newman and Woodward reconnected for "The Long, Hot Summer," and they couldn't hide their feelings for each other.

Newman and Witte divorced in 1958, and the actor married Woodward later that year, on January 29. They had three daughters, Nell, Melissa, and Claire. Unfortunately, his six children had difficulty adjusting to living in their famous father's shadow.

Paul Newman and wife, Joanne Woodward, with daughters Melissa and Clea in November 1974 | Source: Getty Images

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STRUGGLES WITH THEIR BLENDED FAMILY

The "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" star loved being an actor but hated being famous because of the frequent intrusions it brought into his personal life. His fans would ask for his autograph in restaurants, bathrooms, and elsewhere. 

Others would just make him feel embarrassed by staring at his blue eyes. To avoid that, he would wear sunglasses everywhere. He wished to be anonymous so severely that he grew a beard. Still, people recognized him.

Newman's six kids suffered the most. During family outings, his fans would push them aside "as if they don't count" or were "nothing in themselves," confessed Woodward.

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Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and their daughters on April 3, 1968 | Source: Getty Images

Unfortunately, his three children from his first marriage had it particularly worse. They frequently moved between their mother and father's homes and felt like outsiders, mainly because their three younger sisters lived with Newman all the time.

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Newman's daughters also hated all the attention their dad received. Initially, knowing that most women would have done anything to be with him was a joke. After a while, it messed with their self-images. Woodward explained

"Think how disturbing it must be for the girls that their friends are madly in love with their father!"

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward circa 1962 | Source: Getty Images

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If that wasn't hard enough, Newman's parenting skills were far from perfect. He mainly focused on his job while Woodward raised their children, including his three oldest, mostly independently.

[Newman] felt he could have done more for his son.

Newman revealed he didn't have "any talent to be a father." He never connected with his dad, either, so creating bonds with his six kids was too hard.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on November 8, 1974 | Source: Getty Images

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PAUL NEWMAN'S CHILDREN NOWADAYS

As a result, his children went through challenging periods. Some dropped out of school and couldn't make anything of themselves. Unfortunately, it was too much to bear for Newman's only son, Scott.

Born in 1950, Scott did drugs and drank alcohol to cope with constantly being overshadowed by his dad's perpetual youthful looks and success and was kicked out of several schools.

In November 1978, after facing some issues with the law, failing to keep a steady job, and unsuccessfully trying his luck as an actor and singer, Scott died of an accidental overdose. He was 28 years old. 

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Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on August 23, 1989 | Source: Getty Images

Scott's passing deeply impacted Newman's life. He was so heartbroken that he felt he could have done more for his son. However, Newman was a functioning alcoholic and considered he was in no position to lecture Scott

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In Stephanie's case, she was born in 1951 and has stayed away from the spotlight for years. She made a few film appearances with her father as a child but eventually turned her back on Hollywood.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman on October 19, 2005 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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Her younger sister, Susan, was born in 1953. Apart from her successful career as an actress, producer, and filmmaker, Susan served as the Executive Director of different NPOs specializing in alcohol and drug abuse prevention.

Nell, Newman and Woodward's eldest daughter, was born in 1959 and had a brief acting career. Eventually, she became an entrepreneur and founded Newman's Own Organic, an organic food and pet food production company.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman on July 8, 2004 in New York City | Source: Getty Images

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Newman and Woodward's middle daughter is Melissa, born in 1961. She is an actress, singer, and songwriter known for "Time Patrol," "Revenge of the Stepford Wives," and "Lou Grant."

Clea, the youngest sibling, joined the brood in 1965. Instead of pursuing a career as an actress, she preferred to work in the editorial department of shows like "Big Little Lies," "Mad Med," and "Raising the Bar." Sadly, Newman passed away in 2008 but left behind successful daughters.

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