In a way, it’s kind of comforting to know that no matter how old you are, or how famous your parents are, there’s no age limit on being cheerfully embarrassed by your parents’ PDAs.
Melissa Newman, one of the daughters of the late Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, has been forced to embrace any possible cringe and celebrate her parents’ romance along with the world over the last year or so, first with Newman’s posthumous memoir, in which he revealed that he and Woodward had what he referred to as a “fuck hut” and said that she had turned him into a “sexual creature.” Now, Melissa has compiled a book of photographs and love letters between her parents, Head Over Heels: Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman: A Love Affair in Words and Pictures.
And some of those words, well, they’re enough to make the 62-year-old daughter of two screen icons blush, Melissa told Fox News Digital. She explained that she found the first 10 letters her father had written her mother, rescuing them from a bag that she’d been about to throw away before realizing what was inside.
“There [are] quotes from the letters in the book,” she said. “I would read the letters and just go, ‘Oh, this is so sweet. This should go in the book.’ And then I would be reading on, and then I’d go, ‘Ooh, Dad, I can’t put this in the book!’”
According to Melissa, the letters are “bawdy” and “naughty,” but “not smutty.”
“I would get to a point in the letter where I’d say, ‘I can’t print this,’” she said. “But… it was charming.”
Paul Newman died in 2008. Woodward, now 92, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is in medical care.
“I always say, ‘People, read the things that my dad wrote to my mom… [and] take notes, man,’” she said. “This is how you woo somebody.”
For all the sweetness of the 50-year marriage, the Fuck Hut, the room that Woodward gleefully fixed up off the couple’s bedroom in their Beverly Hills home, looms large.
“It had been done with such affection and delight,” Paul Newman wrote in his memoir. “Even if my kids came over, we’d go into the Fuck Hut several nights a week and just be intimate and noisy and ribald.” (That bed, by the way, was auctioned by Sotheby’s this summer.)
In her new book, according to Fox, Melissa writes that her parents’ bedroom featured “comically large bolts” on the doors, and remembers that she “loved the musky smell of that unmade bed.”
In a 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, Clea Newman Soderlund, another of the couple’s daughters, laughed about the world finding out about her parents’ spicy side.
“I have to admit I read that and I was like, Go mom,” she said, claiming she had no idea such a room existed until unearthing the transcripts. “I mean, I knew that my parents had this very kind of sexy, racy relationship, but certainly, I mean, that was just so wonderfully specific. It’s awesome.”
In the same interview, Melissa recalled the discussion with the publishers around whether to leave the Fuck Hut details in her father’s memoir.
“And then we’re like, Oh, why not?”she recalled of the decision. “We all knew that was going to be the headline of everything, and I think it’s awesome. I think I know what room it was.”
“Oh, I love the Fuck Hut. I was just like, that’s very funny,” she said.