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Paul Newman says Joanne Woodward made him a ‘sexual creature’: ‘We left a trail of lust all over the place’

Paul Newman candidly described the steamy sex life that he shared with his wife of 50 years, Joanne Woodward, in his upcoming posthumous memoir, “Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man.”

The memoir was based on interviews with Newman’s family, friends, colleagues and the actor himself, who all went on the record with the stipulation that they be “completely honest.”

In the book, the legendary screen star, who is known for his classic films including “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “The Sting,” discussed his status as a sex symbol, which he said was all due to Woodward.

“Joanne gave birth to a sexual creature,” Newman said in an excerpt obtained by People magazine. “We left a trail of lust all over the place. Hotels and public parks and Hertz Rent-A-Cars.”

The book delves into Newman’s early insecurities during his teenage years in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he needed special permission to join the high school football team due to his small size. Newman also opened up about his lack of self-confidence and early failures with women.


“I felt like a goodman freak,” he said. “Girls thought I was a joke. A happy buffoon.”

However, the Academy Award winner said that all of that changed after meeting Woodward in 1953, when they were both understudies in the original production of William Inge’s play “Picnic.”

At the time, Newman was married to his first wife Jackie Witte, with whom he shared three young children, Scott, Susan and Stephanie. However, his attraction to Woodward proved too strong, and the two embarked on a turbulent affair.

“I went from being not much of a sexual threat to something else entirely,” he recalled.

Newman and Witte divorced in 1958, and he wed Woodward that same year in Las Vegas. In the memoir, Newman shared an anecdote from the pair’s early years as married couple.

He recalled coming home to their Beverly Hills house to find that Woodward had fixed up a room off the master bedroom with a “thriftshop double bed” that she “proudly” called the ” F— Hut”.

“It had been done with such affection and delight,” Newman noted. “Even if my kids came over, we’d go into the F— Hut several nights a week and just be intimate and noisy and ribald.”

The couple later moved to Westport, Connecticut with their three daughters, Nell, Melissa and Clea. 

Woodward and Newman became one of Hollywood’s most enduring power couples and made 16 movies together. They remained married until Newman’s death in 2008 at the age of 83.


However, Newman was open about their marital struggles, which included his heavy drinking.

“Joanne and I still drive each other crazy in different ways,” he said. “But all the misdemeanors, the betrayals, the difficulties have kind of evened themselves out over the years.”

The couple’s daughter Clea recalled, “They fought and it could be dramatic, but they also fought really hard to stay together.”

“They didn’t walk,” she said. “There were times it was pretty close but they worked hard at it. Ultimately they came together.”

The memoir began as a joint project between Newman and his closest friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, in 1986. The project spanned five years, during which Stern compiled an oral history of Newman’s life.

“Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man” will be released on Oct. 18.

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