One could say the most important relationship famed actor and philanthropist Paul Newman had was with his career in the entertainment industry. But, others would argue that his fifty year marriage to actress Joanne Woodward takes the cake.
When the two young aspiring stage performers were working the Broadway scene in William Inge's original production of “Picnic”, from the get-go there was a very strong attraction. But, a more than professional relationship was not in the cards. The blue-eyed actor was a husband to Jackie Witte and father to son Scott, and newborn daughter, Susan.
During Newman's most personal career bust “The Silver Chalice” (1954) and major successes “Exodus” (1960) and “The Hustler” (1961), the actor was reunited with Woodward in “The Long, Hot Summer” (1958). The intense connection was reignited and the two realized they were meant to be together. Following a divorce from his wife Jackie, the lovebirds exchanged nuptials in a Las Vegas wedding. Adding to his bride's collection of sherry glasses, the groom's wedding gift was a silver cup inscribed with the phrase, "So you wound up with Apollo/If he's sometimes hard to swallow/Use this."
A decade into their marriage, Newman took the helm as director for the critically acclaimed “Rachel, Rachel” (1968) while Woodward was cast as his leading lady. The motion picture did not pick up Academy Award gold in the four categories it was nominated for, but the pair did garner Golden Globe wins for Best Picture and Best Actress In A Leading Role. When asked what it was like to be directed by her husband, Woodward offered, ". . .Paul knows everything there is to know about me. I wish he could just direct every movie I ever do." In total, the duo collaborated in fifteen films together; sharing the screen in ten, and Newman directing/producing Woodward in an additional five.
Following the actors' retirement from Hollywood and emergence into the food industry, the couple settled down in Westport, Connecticut, where they actively worked for charitable organizations and raised their three daughters. It is also the time where Newman's love for auto-racing grew, which his partner personally thought was "the silliest thing in the world". The actor once said, "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 and Woodwards' marriage was never tainted by the 'usual' world-renown gossip and controversy most celebrity couples fall victim to, making it, by audiences and critics alike, one of the most successful Hollywood romances.