Joanne Woodward Gained Weight & at 93 Cannot Remember ‘Love of Her Life’ Paul Newman amid Illness
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were Hollywood’s most known couple.
Woodward turned 93 in 2023, but her diagnosis left her unable to remember Paul, whom she’d loved for 50 years.
Now her family and grandchildren are with her.
Joanne Woodward is a famous Hollywood actress who appeared in films like “The Three Faces of Eve” and “Count Three and Pray.” The iconic star played a woman with multiple personality disorder in “The Three Faces of Eve,” causing her to win an Oscar.
It was her agent who introduced her to Paul Newman. In the early 1950s, Woodward and Paul built a close relationship as they worked together as understudies for the Broadway play, “Picnic.”
However, nothing romantic happened between them as Paul was married. When they finally got together, the pair spent over five decades “passionately in love,” but they also experienced ups and downs. According to their daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund, her parents had a “rare” passion and an unusual connection for each other. Soderlund said they laughed more than any other couple she’d ever known but also respected each other.
The couple’s marriage lasted 50 years until Paul died at age 83 in 2008. One of the things that threw the couple off was the guilt the “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” actor carried for having left his family when he married Woodward.
The duo also experienced resentment, tragedy, and substance abuse. A friend of the couple confessed that the pair had rough times and “a give-and-take on both sides,” but their loving and close bond proved “unbreakable.”
The “Cool Hand Luke” actor divorced his wife, Jackie, in 1958 before marrying Woodward in Las Vegas. Besides the actress’s Oscar win, Paul’s career skyrocketed with his first Oscar nomination in 1959 for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
A friend ofid he didn’t see his children from his first marriage regularly, partly because of his busy filming schedule. His son, Scott Newman, ended up resenting his father for leaving, and he “disliked” his second wife “intensely.”
When Woodward and Paul had their three daughters, she put her career on hold for years to raise them while dealing with her husband’s drinking problem. A friend, who noted the actor’s alcohol addiction and alleged affair with Nancy Bacon in 1969, said:
“Most of their arguments centered around his inability to curb it and the trouble that he would get into because of it.”
However, what kept the pair together was that Paul did his best to make amends. A source shared how he’d realized his wife’s sacrifices for their marriage and family and did his best to play his part.
Woodward’s husband directed and produced several of his wife’s films to support her career. Sadly, later in life, the actress suffered an illness that would wipe away the memories of her love for Paul. Joanne Doesn’t Remember the Love She Shared with Paul Due to Illness, but Is Still Close with Family While Woodward celebrated her 93rd birthday on February 27, 2023, she was battling an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. In 2007, she was initially diagnosed with terminal cancer, and while dealing with that, days later, she discovered she had Alzheimer’s.
Ethan Hawke, who directed “The Last Movie Stars,” a six-part documentary series about the couple, revealed that Woodward’s family wanted him to do the documentary because of her diagnosis. The actress’s family wanted the special to come out while she was alive and could see it.
Paul had called his wife “one of the last great broads,” while she described him as a romantic and the most considerate man she’d ever known. The stars who co-starred in 1958’s “The Long, Hot Summer” were made for one another. However, the Alzheimer’s diagnosis rendered Woodward unable to recall the beautiful memories she had built with her true love. In 2015, a family insider claimed the actress’s health was “deteriorating rapidly,” with the source 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.”
His wife started showing distress shortly after Paul’s passing from cancer. A source said Woodward’s children saw her becoming slightly disorientated and thought it was due to depression from losing her husband.
However, by 2015, her Alzheimer’s had gotten to bad that she needed round-the-clock care. The insider revealed that the actress barely spoke and hardly recognized her daughters, Nell, Melissa, and Claire, and her grandchildren, which was a heartbreaking way to see her.
However, her children stayed by her side, and the source said Melissa was a “godsend.” The star’s daughter lived in her parents’ former Connecticut home, next to Woodward’s, where she had a health care staff that kept her children informed about her progress.
Paul’s wife spent a period of time being treated at Yale University’s Adler Geriatric Assess Center. The actress had a drug trial which caused weight gain, but she was probably not going to return there as her children felt she’d gone as far with it as she could.
For 2022’s Mother’s Day celebrations, Nell uploaded a recent Instagram photo of her mother. The weight gain was obvious, but the actress still looked beautiful and healthy as she smiled happily as Nell embraced her.
In her post’s caption, Nell revealed that Woodward was her “best friend of a lifetime.” She said her mother was compassionate, intelligent, patient, and had a creativity that never ceased to amaze her.
That same month, Nell uploaded a fun photo showing how her mother was still living a full life, and this time, Woodward was photographed as she danced with her grandson, Henny. While the actress’s daugre focused on keeping her healthy and well, one of them had another battle on their hands.
Paul’s Children Fight with Own Foundation
Besides his three children with Woodward, Paul had other children with his first wife. His first child with the actress was Elinor Teresa Newman, born on April 8, 1959, who worked as a child actor in the 1960s and 70s as Nell Potts.
Nell had the title role in “Rachel, Rachel” and starred in “The Effect of Gama Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.” As a branch of Newman’s Own, she co-founded Newman’s Own Organics, which she conceived in 1993 while working as the director of the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary in central California.
After Paul passed, Nell fell out with Newman’s Own, with her company stopped from releasing new products. Newman’s Own, Inc. felt it could want to release a competing item, and in 2014, Nell’s licensing agreement to her father’s name and image expired.
She was blocked from working for the company, and instead of threatening Newman’s Organics’ 30 employees livelihoods, Nell turned the company over to Newman’s Own, Inc. Nell’s sibling, Mellissa Newman, was welcomed on September 27, 1961.
Claire [“Clea” Soderlund] was proud to be part of Paul’s [Newman] legacy, as it was an honor and a special gift.
She also got into acting, appearing “Hawkins and The New Perry Mason,” “See How She Runs,” “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge,” and “Sometimes A Great Nation.” In November 1995, she married Raphael P. Elkind, and they had two sons, Peter and Henry, while Melissa reportedly volunteered at a Connecticut women’s prison.
Paul’s lastborn child was Claire “Clea” Soderlund, who was born in April 1965. She worked in the entertainment industry as a production consultant on “Big Little Lies” and in post-production on “Mad Men,” “The Big C,” and “Raising The Bar.”
In 2020, she co-produced “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” and was an associate producer on “Sharp Objects,” “Big Little Lies,” and “The Big C.” Claire married Kurt Soderlund and did philanthropic work in Westport and other areas.
Woodword’s lastborn daughter once revealed that their parents taught them from a young age that being good community citizens and giving back was a priority. Claire was proud to be part of Paul’s legacy, as it was an honor and a special gift.