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Paul Newman: "Wife Cheater, Heavy Drinker"
Hollywood Legend's Marriage Secrets Revealed
"I'm Guilty as Hell And I'll Carry It with Me for Ever"
Newman and his wife together at an awards night in New York in 1999. The pair's marriage lasted 50 years but began as an adulterous affair.

The Hollywood legend Paul Newman, who was publically known to be a very faithful husband to his wife, actress Joanne Woodward for over 50 years, was actually "a wife cheater and heavy drinker," according to a news report by Daily Mail of Great Britain.

Newman and Woodward were coveted as a "devoted couple" by fellows and friends in Hollywood for decades.

Based on a Paul Newman's biography "A Life by Shawn Levy," the British news media uncovered the secret marriage life of the legendary Hollywood actor recently.

"I'm guilty as hell - and I'll carry it with me for ever," Newman confessed regarding his marriage life, reported Daily Mail, quoting his biography. The book, to be published by Aurum Press, is exptected to hit the market in the autumn.

Paul Newman, who died of lung cancer at age 83 at his Connecticut residence on Sept. 27, 2008, was famous for his piercing blue eyes, boyish good looks, and stellar performances in scores of hit Hollywood movies including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: 1969)" and "The Sting: 1973)."

The following is the full story of Daily Mail.

When Paul Newman married actress Joanne Woodward, it was the start of a legendary showbusiness marriage that was to last 50 years.

But, as our second extract from a new biography of Newman reveals, the relationship began as an adulterous affair while Newman was married to his first wife, actress Jacqueline Witte, by whom he had three children.

Paul Leonard Newman
(Jan. 26, 1925~Sept. 26, 2008)

For their honeymoon, Paul Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward flew to London. 'There were no tourists to speak of,' Newman remembered later, 'and we would drive off into the country till we were lost and then check into country inns at nightfall. It felt good being married.'

They socialised with Claire Bloom, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Kenneth Tynan and other theatre luminaries. It was all a dream come true - and the start of a legendary showbusiness marriage that was to last 50 years.

But their partnership became such an institution that few people realised Newman had been married before - and that he had broken up the marriage in circumstances that did him little credit and about which he was ashamed for the rest of his life

The name of his first wife was Jackie Witte, a tall, dark-eyed blonde, and, in the years just after World War II, an aspiring actor like him.

Newman, a 24-year-old Navy veteran, had turned his back on a job in the family firm, a successful business selling sportswear in Cleveland, Ohio, and, inspired by some acting he had done at university, tried to find work in local repertory theatres around the Mid-west.

Jackie was just 19 and yet to graduate from college when they met up at a small town where they both had taken summer stage work. That winter, they moved together to a theatre company in Woodstock in Illinois, and on December 27, 1949, Jackie became the first Mrs Paul Newman.

There have been various surmises as to just what led Newman to marry so quickly and to someone so young. Pregnancy is a popular first guess, but no child was imminent. The simplest explanation is that they were a handsome pair and in love.

In Woodstock, Newman's theatrical career bumped along. His acting was uninspired and, though he was 'a good-lookin' blue-eyed guy,' in the words of the theatre manager, he was not viewed as 'leading man' material. When Jackie became pregnant, he had to face the prospect of giving up the theatre.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Coincidentally, his father had just died and it fell to him to join in the running of the family business. With Jackie, he returned to Cleveland where their son, Scott, was born, and it looked as if, at the age of 25, Paul Newman's brief flirtation with the world of acting was over.

But he could not stop pining for the stage. He would go to performances in the town's playhouse and watch the actors taking their curtain calls. 'It nearly drove me out of my mind,' he recalled.

So he gambled all his savings on doing a master's degree in theatre at Yale University, with the thought that, if the acting did not work out, he could at least teach the subject.

For the second time in a little more than a year, he loaded his possessions

The Newmans rented the top floor of a house and Paul augmented his savings with work as a door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman. Occasionally, Jackie commuted into New York City, which was just a train ride away, to seek work as a model, which was now her chosen career.

The proximity of New York also meant that leading theatrical agents would attend Yale's plays to scout for new talent - and thus it was that a stiff but handsome young actor playing a small part in a student play about Beethoven was noticed in the spring of 1952.

Wedding belle: Hollywood stars Joanne Woodward and Newman in Las Vegas after their marriage in 1958

'Look me up if you ever come to New York,' an agent told Newman. Newman decided to take a flyer on the big time. He dropped out of Yale and gave himself one year and no more to make it in the big city.
Even more than going to Yale, moving to New York was a leap of faith - especially after Jackie told him that she was expecting their second child. He was a man with growing responsibilities.

So he developed a routine. 'I had one decent suit,' he remembered, 'and I'd put it on every morning, take the ferry from Staten Island [where they were living] to Manhattan, make the rounds of the casting agents, follow up all the tips in the trade papers, and then get home in time to peddle encyclopaedias.'

His persistence paid off. Before long, he was getting small roles on television and also auditioning for stage plays. Slowly, Newman's career was taking off.

In one play - called Picnic and destined for a long run on Broadway - he understudied the lead role of a sexually magnetic vagrant, a renegade who causes havoc among the lonely women in a small Kansas town.

To play the part, he had to loosen up, especially in one scene where his character seduces the leading lady at a dance.

Until now, everything Newman did on stage had been clean-cut and largely dependent on his good looks.

'You've got to learn how to be a little dirtier,' the director told him. 'Wiggle your ass a little bit when you're dancing with her.'

He did as he was told, and was transformed. A raunchy Paul Newman was born, and the change was particularly noticed by the understudy for the leading lady, with whom he was often dancing in rehearsals. Her name was Joanne Woodward.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman enjoying picnic

Picnic was a success for Newman, and he received his first good reviews. Television series were also scooping him up. 'He looked like a Greek god,' his booking agent explained, 'and he was cast in nearly every part he tried out for.'

Those god-like looks made only a limited impression on Joanne. He was, she thought, 'just a pretty face', reminiscent of a Botticelli angel. Crucially, she didn't think much of his acting. There was also the impediment that he was married, with two kids. He was forbidden fruit - at least in theory.

He, on the other hand, was already drawn to this 22-year-old Southern beauty from Georgia. He was struck by her looks at their first meeting. As they got to know each other during rehearsals, she came to seem to him his ideal girl.

'She was modern and independent,' he remembered, 'whereas I was shy and a bit conservative. It took me a long time to persuade her that I wasn't as dull as I looked.' Some observers saw clearly that something was brewing between them.

At home, Newman felt caught in a trap. Two-year-old Scott was prone to temper tantrums and Jackie was increasingly resentful, stuck with two small children while her husband spent days and often nights in Manhattan working, looking for work, schmoozing, and drinking with his acting buddies.

There were real tensions between them. 'When she had her children, Jackie lost her interest in acting and in the world that meant everything to Paul,' remarked a friend.

Paul Newman in 1950s — Film legend Paul Newsman and the ex-chain-smoker was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

'Her nature is shy and retiring, while Paul's is gregarious. He likes late gatherings of writers and actors, as did Joanne. Paul and Joanne were two highly attractive people with a deep mutual interest and an obvious feeling of companionship. But you seldom saw Jackie.'

Jackie was suspicious of her husband, and with good reason. A considerable portion of his time was now in Joanne's company. Mutually attracted but staying at a remove from each other out of respect for Newman's marriage, the two were nonetheless bonding.

As Joanne remembered: 'Paul and I were good friends before we were lovers. We really liked each other. We could talk to each other, we could tell each other anything without fear of ridicule or rejection. There was trust.'

But his marriage continued, and happily so on the surface. A third child, Stephanie, was born in 1954.

It was not long after this that Paul's successes on Broadway and increasing exposure in films for television attracted interest from Hollywood. In Somebody Up There Likes Me, he was cast in the lead role as a gangster who redeems himself through professional boxing.

To prepare for the role, he trained in seedy gyms and hung around the pool halls and bars frequented by boxers. When actually filming in Hollywood, he spent a lot of time with Joanne.

When the film was released, it was a critical triumph, and to celebrate he and Jackie left the children with a babysitter and headed to a party at a restaurant.

Raunchy: Newman with Geraldine Page in the 1962 film Sweet Bird of Youth

It was a wild evening, and just after midnight Newman left Jackie and the others. The mischievous bad boy that was always in him itching to get out got out and he went roaring off in his car.

He knocked over a fire hydrant, ran a red light and was chased by police cars for a mile before being pulled over. The aggressive and obviously drunk Newman was handcuffed and taken to a police station, where a band of reporters were waiting for news of a local boy who'd been kidnapped.

Thinking they were there for him, he stamped his feet and posed menacingly and was duly photographed. Hustled into a cell, he suddenly became contrite. 'Don't lock the door on me,' he begged the officers. 'I don't like locked doors.' But they did.

In part, his behaviour that night was the result of natural high spirits, but it was also symptomatic of his growing pain and confusion. The guilt he felt for threatening his marriage was driving him to use alcohol as a release.

Newman had always been partial to a drink - beer mostly, though he could slip into a bottle of whisky, too. He owned up to some 'generally boorish behaviour' in his college days as a result of too much Scotch.'

But now it was the other way round - his bad behaviour as a husband was leading to the heavy boozing.

In Hollywood for the filming of Somebody Up There Likes Me, his romance with Joanne had taken deeper root. Returning to New York, he saw a lot of her there too, at showbusiness meetings and at late-night parties. Their mutual attraction was common knowledge among their circle and so, too, was the strain it created.

A friend commented that the romance was 'more of an ordeal than a courtship. Paul was torn between his loyalty to his children and honesty with his feelings for Joanne. And Joanne, who was friendly with Jackie, suffered torments at finding herself in the role of a home-wrecker.

'But being what they were, neither could help what was happening to them.'

The drink-driving incident seemed to bring matters to a boil. Despite the genuine anguish it caused him to break up his home, Newman acknowledged first to friends and then to Jackie that he was in love with Joanne.

But Jackie wasn't letting go easily. As she saw it, she had a right to her family, even if her husband was disloyal, and she had a right, too, to a fair portion of his blossoming career.

They had been married in church less than eight years earlier; she had three children under the age of seven. And it was he who was cheating on her. Why should she budge?

But Newman wasn't cheating so much as he was recognising that he'd found his ideal partner.

'They were so young when they married,' a friend said of Newman and Jackie. 'They just grew up to be two different people.' And so he made up his mind to leave, regardless of how Jackie took it, regardless, even, of what it meant to the children.

Work now increasingly took him to Hollywood, where Joanne was also making a film, the psychologically daring Three Faces Of Eve, for which she would win an Oscar.

They took a beach house together in Malibu with the writer Gore Vidal and his partner Howard Austen - a particularly odd arrangement since it had once been hinted in the gossip pages that Joanne and Vidal were engaged.

'That had been at her insistence,' Vidal later recollected, 'and based entirely on her passion not for me but for Paul.' She thought that a fake engagement might force him to leave Jackie once and for all.

Life on the beach was idyllic - apart from the fact that Newman was seeing a psychiatrist to address the genuine pain that was accompanying the break-up of his marriage.

But he and Joanne were now increasingly honest about their relationship. They were photographed dining together and attending film premieres.

Finally, he worked up the gumption to ask Jackie for a divorce, but despite the ongoing humiliation she faced, she was still unwilling to give in - until another film role forced all their hands.

In The Long, Hot Summer, he was cast alongside Joanne herself, and they spent a couple of months on location together in Louisiana. The two stars behaved in front of everyone like a couple in love.

While shopping in New Orleans, they bought a gigantic brass bed which Newman speculated can only have come from a bordello, it was so big.

They were now the hottest couple around. Everyone was talking about Joanne's tour-de-force performance in Three Faces Of Eve. He had also just been cast in a major role alongside Elizabeth Taylor in Tennessee Williams's steamy classic, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, his biggest part to date.

At which point Jackie finally agreed to give up her claim on Paul, and he was arduously working out the terms of the divorce. He knew, too, that Joanne was carrying his baby.

Sometime during the shooting of The Long, Hot Summer, perhaps on that voluptuous brass bed, they had conceived a child - the reality of which may have been the final straw in Jackie's agreeing to let him go.

The divorce went through, but it remained one of the strangest things about his entire life. He would come to be celebrated for his long and lasting marriage to Joanne, yet it had been built on the foundation of a previous and fecund one that had failed.

He danced gingerly around questions about his time with Jackie: 'I was probably too immature to make a success of my first marriage,' was all he would say. When pressed, he replied: 'What happened to us during that period is nobody's business.'

He did, however, confess to one emotion. 'Guilty as hell' was how he described himself about his first marriage, adding: 'And I'll carry it with me for the rest of my life.'

Extracted from Paul Newman: A Life by Shawn Levy, to be published by Aurum Press in the autumn.



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