Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's daughters reveal iconic marriage was not all 'ice cream and cake'

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward's daughters reveal iconic marriage was not all 'ice cream and cake'
Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward had a 'complicated marriage' according to the their daughter Melissa (Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT: Paul Newman and Joanne Wooward were among the original power couples of Hollywood. Newman, apart from being an iconic name in tinsel town, was also well known for being a family man. However, his 'fairytale married life' with Woodward was not as sparkly as it seemed. The couple's daughters, Clea and Melissa, revealed how their parents' married life was not "all ice cream and cake." There were a lot of ups and downs in their relationship but they 'fought to be together' even in the hardest of times which lead to 50 years of their marriage until Paul's death in 2008.

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As per Closer Weekly, 'Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man', a posthumous memoir of the life of the Hollywood actor sheds light on various personal aspects of his life, including his struggles to live his life as a family man along with his glamorous celebrity life. The memoir is based on interviews he did between 1986 and 1991.

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Clea Newman, Susan Newman, and Nell Newman  daughters of actor Paul Newman arrive at An Evening Of SeriousFun Celebrating The Legacy Of Paul Newman at Dolby Theatre on May 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Clea Newman, Susan Newman and Nell Newman daughters of actor Paul Newman arrive at An Evening Of SeriousFun Celebrating The Legacy Of Paul Newman at Dolby Theatre on May 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California (Getty Imnages)

As per Closer Weekly, Melissa and Clea had a lot of new information to share about the seemingly perfect married life of Newman and Woodward. "There is this fairy tale of my parents’ perfect marriage," says Melissa, also known as Lissy, a 61-year-old artist, singer, and former actress. She said, "There was a vibe of tension in the house that would sort of come and go."

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Melissa Newman attends the
Melissa Newman attends the 'The Last Movie Stars' photocall during the 17th Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on October 13 in Rome, Italy (Getty Images)

She reportedly revealed that her mother and father had a "desire to fight for their relationship" which was the reason that kept their marriage going for 50 years until Newman's death. Primarily, since both actors had glamorous acting careers, it was hard for them to balance their family and their dual careers. In addition, Melissa also reportedly pointed out how her father struggled with drinking problems which also somewhat acted as a threat to the family's happiness.

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American actors and newlyweds Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward kiss behind a wedding cake during their wedding reception at the El Rancho hotel-casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29, 1958. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actors and newlyweds Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward kiss behind a wedding cake during their wedding reception at the El Rancho hotel-casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29, 1958 (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

According to the outlet, however, there was still respect for each other's personalities, as Melissa recalls, "My mother was always the rock, even when she said, 'I'm drawing the line. You either get your act together or I'm out.' I think Dad respected her because he knew she wasn't bluffing."

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Portrait of married American actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward standing outdoors, circa 1962. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were together for 50 years despite their ups and downs (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Melissa, Clea and Nell were the children of Newman and Woodward. However, Newman also shared three children with his ex-wife Jackie Witte. They had two daughters, Stephanie and Susan, and a son Scott. Newman grappled with guilt for years after his son died at the age of 28 years due to an alcohol and drug overdose. In an interview, Newman reportedly said that he "[didn't] have the gift of fathering," adding, "Being a star throws everything out of whack for your kids."

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However, Clea said that Newman's perception of himself was different from how the public viewed him. She told Closer Weekly that by the time his family with Woodward started, he was a dedicated family man. She said, "I feel incredibly blessed that from my young adulthood to the time that he passed away, he was incredibly present, wanting to help and giving great advice. He worked really, really hard on himself and he got to the other side. I give him such extraordinary credit for that."

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