more stars than in the heavens

not in our stars, but in ourselves

You Barn-Burner!: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

A happy story!  A real happy story!  See, they do exist.  Today’s screen couple is the legendarily happy Paul Newman and Woodward – the rare Hollywood marriage that began here:


…and ended here:


Still beaming, still beautiful, and still quite obviously delighted with each other.  I’m lucky enough to have grandparents who were uncommonly attractive when they were young, and very much in love all throughout their 60+ years together.  Newman and Woodward have always reminded me of them, in the very best way possible: for their sense of humor, for their still-glamorous air even when they were well into their 80s, for their abiding friendship.  Monogamy at its greatest and most successful, for real.

All right, so that’s a little bit of a rose-colored depiction of their relationship.  They fell in love while filming The Long Hot Summer (1958) – which you should see immediately, because it’s GREAT – and while Newman was still married to someone else.  Oops.  Undoubtedly, like any married couple, they had their ups and downs; they were just wise enough to keep them private.  What they never kept private, however, was their sheer joy in each other.  I mean, look at this.

joanne woodward paul newman dancing living room

And this.


And this!


Let me tell you, my friends.  If you’re ever feeling down, for any reason, even relationship kinds of reasons, you should google-image these two.  Second to pictures of baby animals, there is no greater pick-me-up in the world.

Where yesterday’s selection of quotes tended to highlight the tragic aspects of Sinatra and Gardner’s marriage, I am going to blow your socks off with the kinds of ludicrously inspiring, lovely, wonderful things said by and about these two here.  Are you ready?  Well, get ready, dammit!

“I worked with [Paul Newman] on the movie Twilight (1998).  When Joanne Woodward came on set, he put his arm around my shoulder and said to me, ‘Will you look at the ass on her?’ That really struck me as an ideal relationship.  I love the idea that a guy approaching 80 still loved his wife’s ass.”
– Liev Schreiber

“Joanne has always given me unconditional support in all my choices and endeavors, and that includes my race car driving, which she deplores.  To me, that’s love.”
– Newman


“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.”
– Woodward

“I don’t like to discuss my marriage, but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?”

– Newman

“I’ve repeatedly said that for people who have as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that’s about all we have in common. Maybe that’s enough. Wives shouldn’t feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighborhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends and not impose on the other … You can’t spend a lifetime breathing down each other’s necks … We are very, very different people and yet somehow we fed off those varied differences and instead of separating us, it has made the whole bond a lot stronger.”

– Newman


Oh my GOD.  Are you sighing dreamily yet?  Yeah, me too.

There’s a lot of sadness out there, and a lot of failure, and a lot of mediocrity – so much so that it can seem nearly impossible ever to hope for anything else.  Thankfully, we’ve got people like these two – people like my grandparents, and maybe people like your grandparents – who shine as a beacon of hope that joy, success, and perfection are indeed possible.  Phew.


4 comments on “You Barn-Burner!: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

  1. Pingback: Yes, We Cannes. | more stars than in the heavens

  2. Pingback: The dance that’s a dream of romance | more stars than in the heavens

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  4. courtney
    September 25, 2015

    they were already living together before being cast in long hot summer together Joanne got the role of Clara at the last minute because Eva Marie Saint was pregnant prior to production. Joanne became pregnant during production unfortunately she miscarried during their honeymoon in London only to conceive again a few months later and go on to give birth to their oldest daughter Elinor “Nell” Theresa on April 8th 1959 just before Noon in New York city she was later joined by two sisters Melissa Lissy Stewart born September 27th 1961 in Los Angeles and Claire “Clea” Olivia born April 21st 1965 in New York City

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This entry was posted on February 12, 2013 by and tagged , , , .
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