Did Paul Newman Ever Cheat on Joanne Woodward? Did They Ever Separate?

With HBO Max’s ‘The Last Movie Stars’ exploring both the personal as well as the professional relationship between Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, it’s undeniable they were a power couple. They were married for more than five decades (until his passing in 2008), they welcomed three children while also partly raising three more from his previous union, and they even made 16 films together. Everybody thus loves to believe the duo had a perfect life, but the truth is they did have their fair share of rough patches, and taking that away is like taking away all their efforts, per their daughter Clea.

Did Paul Newman Ever Cheat on Joanne Woodward?

According to the original documentary series, then-aspiring actor Paul first became involved with Joanne when they were a part of the William Inge ‘Picnic’ production on Broadway back in 1953. It proved to be his debut, whereas she remained an understudy, yet the real issue was that he was already espoused to and had a growing family with Jacqueline “Jackie” Witte (McDonald) at the time. Therefore, as they evolved from friends into something new over the years, Paul ended up divorcing his first wife to tie the knot with Joanne in early 1958, just to be dubbed the golden couple soon after.

The ‘Cold Hand Luke’ performer actually also garnered the reputation of a sex symbol during the 1960s and 1970s, which ultimately gave way to several rumors concerning infidelity. That’s despite the fact both he and Joanne were known to be utterly devoted to the blended family they were establishing, simply owing to a mix of their past as well as their success. This led to Paul’s famous quip, “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?” — a statement that, as it turns out, annoyed his wife since he’d essentially called her a piece of meat, per the HBO Max show.

However, there are some reports backing these rumors by alleging Paul had an 18-month-long affair with divorced Hollywood journalist Nancy Bacon around 11 years into his second marriage. She was ostensibly the one to call things off because she was tired of being on the sidelines and his extensive drinking, only to later state, “Paul may not go out for hamburger, but he sure goes out for Bacon.” With that said, neither he nor his life partner has seemingly ever remarked on the same, which makes many believe this is just gossip considering they often shared their downfalls.

Did Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward Ever Separate?

Paul and Joanne did separate for a brief while, but it honestly had nothing to do with any sort of cheating and everything to do with his alcohol troubles, according to ‘The Last Movie Stars.’ The ‘Rachel, Rachel’ actress woke up one day to find her husband passed out drunk, a little injured on the floor, and because similar occurrences weren’t uncommon, her worry turned to anger. She thus decided to leave the destructive environment with her children, only to agree to reconcile if he quits drinking when he later approached in an attempt to talk things out, per the docuseries.

Paul subsequently admitted he doesn’t do well with ultimatums and spent a few days or weeks sleeping inside his car before eventually returning to his wife, the HBO Max original indicates. He was honest in telling Joanne he couldn’t quit entirely but promised to leave the hard liquors, practically driving her to welcome him back into their family with open arms. He once even told her he had nowhere else to go following a fight.

In other words, even though things weren’t always cheery for the couple, no matter how hard they tried, the one constant was their willingness to stick together and offer sound support, which is why their love lasted until the very end.

Read More: Where is Joanne Woodward Now?