- Jackie Witte was married to Paul Newman for nine years and they shared three children: Scott, Susan, and Stephanie
- She tried to pursue a career in both acting and modeling but later decided to focus on raising her kids
- She died at the age of 64 in 1994 while her ex-husband died at the age of 83 in 2008 after battling lung cancer for a while
The famed actor, Paul Newman was married to his heartthrob, Joanne Woodward for almost five decades until he passed in 2008. However, the success of the marriage has to be questioned due to the fact that it was built at the expense of his first marriage to Jackie Witte.
Jackie Witte was an aspiring actress when she met her ex-husband. However, she later tried to build a career as a model until she started having children.
Before she and Newman divorced, they had three children: Scott, Susan, and Stephanie Kendall.
Who is Jackie Witte?
Jackie Witte was born Jacqueline Emilie Witte in September 1929 in Illinois. Not much is known about her due to the fact that she went off the radar following her divorce from the actor.
Nevertheless, she met her husband when she was only 19 and he was 24. She was still in college and Newman was a Navy veteran. He, on the other hand, was born in Shaker Heights Ohio on January 26 1925 as the second son of Theresa Garth and Arthur Sigmund Newman Sr.
She was Married to Paul Newman for Nine Years
Jackie, who was described as a tall blonde woman with dark eyes met Newman after World War II. At that time, they were both living in a small town and were doing summer stage work together. The two would later move to Woodstock theatre company.
On December 27, 1949, Witte and Newman tied the knots since they were madly in love with each other at that time. Due to their age, people first thought the pair got married rather quickly because Witte was pregnant. However, that wasn’t the case.
She Shared Three Children with Newman
Amidst the struggles of stabilizing their careers, Jackie became pregnant with their first child Scott in 1950 and her then-husband had to give up his career in theatre. Also, more challenges sprung up as her father-in-law died around that time and they had to move to Cleveland to help run the family business.
When she started having kids, her acting was put on hold but she eventually became a full-time model. That was not for long as she fell pregnant with her second child, Susan in 1953. Newman had to drop out of Yale University where he was pursuing a Master’s Degree in Theatre. Their third child, Stephanie was born in 1954.
Things Became Sour in the Marriage When Jackie Became the Only One Raising the Three Kids
While Paul Newman struggled to make his acting career successful, he never up. While her husband worked as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman she tried to seek modeling gigs as well.
It was not long before Newman started landing minor roles on television and in stage plays. His career took off after he landed a role in a Broadway play. He began to spend more time in Manhattan away from his children and wife.
The major rift in their marriage was the fact that Newman took acting more seriously forgetting his Jackie, the kids, and even the family’s business he had inherited. The path, at that time, was said to be different. While Jackie became a full-time mom, Newman enjoyed his time with writers and actors.
He became more and more absent from Jackie and she on the other hand became suspicious as well. It was not long before she discovered he was spending most of his time with another woman called, Joanne Woodward.
Jackie Witte and Paul Newman Ended Their Marriage after 9 Years
Newman’s career skyrocketed after the movie Somebody Up There Like Me became a hit. Sadly, their marriage was headed down the drain. He finally opened up to his wife about the other woman in his life.
Despite the struggles, Witte really wanted to make things right in their marriage and she did not let go easily. Regardless of how she took the news, her husband was bent on leaving her.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward made their relationship public after the former asked for a divorce from Jackie Witte. At first, the latter did not want to sign the divorce papers until she heard Joanne was already pregnant. The divorce was finalized in 1958.
Her Ex-Husband was Married to Joanne Woodward for 50 Years
Following their divorce, Newman who had met Joanne on the production of Picnic on Broadway married the actress the same year he divorced Witte. The pair later became one of Hollywood’s power couples. They had three daughters Elinor, Melissa, and Claire.
The couple remained married until Paul’s death in 2008. Before he passed, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and on September 26, 2008, the actor died at the age of 83 years old.
Her Children were Affected by the Divorce
After her ex-husband married, his new wife took her three children under her care. While his wife raised the kids, he was very distant from his children. In fact, there were reports that his excessive fame had a toll on him as a father.
The father of six apparently did not share any connection with his children. Witte’s children Scott, Susan, and Stephanie had to shuffle between two homes at a point due to the divorce arrangement.
Witte’s first son, Scott was reportedly overwhelmed by his father’s popularity and known for throwing tantrums as a child, he also tried to pursue a career in acting as his father but he allegedly lived in his father’s shadow.
Newman helped his son work as a stuntman on a film but e lost it due to his drinking habits. Scott also tried to forge a career in music but that did not work as well.
Despite trying to have a career in the entertainment industry, Scott constantly seemed drunk and he kept abusing drugs. He met his sad end in November 1978. His lifeless body was found in a hotel room in Los Angeles. Upon reaching the hospital, he was declared dead.
Scott reportedly died from an accidental drug overdose mixed with alcohol. Newman was devastated after his son died and he took responsibility for failing to be a good father to his son.
Several years after Jackie’s son died, family and friends set up Scott Newman Centre For Drug Abuse Prevention to honor him.
While there is so little about her daughter, Stephanie,69, her other daughter Susan 70, has pursued a career in the entertainment industry. She is said to be a documentary filmmaker and philanthropist. She has acted alongside her father in Slap Shot and has received an Emmy nomination as co-producer of Newman’s film The Shadow Box.
Where is Jackie Witte Now?
After she ended her marriage to the actor, she disappeared from the spotlight. It is unknown if she remarried or not. However, it has been reported that she died at the age of 64 in 1994. The cause of death has not been revealed by her family.