The woman who tamed Woody Harrelson’s wild ways: FEMAIL reveals how actor, 61, quit his party-hard lifestyle after falling for his assistant – who stuck by him even after he CHEATED – as pair prove love CAN last in Hollywood with 33-YEAR romance
- Woody, now 61, met Laura, now 58, in 1987, when he hired her as his assistant
- She turned the self-proclaimed ‘party animal’ into a devoted family man
- FEMAIL recapped their entire relationship from start to finish
After being propelled into the spotlight thanks to his role in Cheers, Woody Harrelson earned the reputation as a wild partier and rampant womanizer. Hollywood’s newest golden boy quickly became ‘drunk on his success’ – and would brag about sleeping with three different women a day and swore he would never be trapped down by marriage.
But everything changed when he met his future-wife, Laura Louie, who went on to save the actor from the downward spiral of debauchery and corruption that he was on – and ultimately turned the self-proclaimed ‘party animal’ into a devoted family man.
Woody, now 61, met Laura, now 58, in 1987, when she was a college student visiting the set of Cheers as part of a school workshop. He was desperately looking for a personal assistant at the time, and after hitting it off with Laura, he hired her one day later, despite hardly even knowing her.
For three years she worked as his assistant – but when Woody had an epiphany one night while he was away in Africa and realized he was madly in love with her, the man who once described relationships as being stuck in a ‘cage’ decided to race home, take her up to one of the most romantic spots in the Hollywood Hills, and profess his feelings by singing her a love song that he wrote.
Woody Harrelson’s wife, Laura Louie (seen in 1997), saved the actor from a downward spiral of debauchery – turning the self-proclaimed ‘party animal’ into a devoted family man
After being propelled into the spotlight thanks to his role in Cheers (seen), Woody earned the reputation as a wild partier and rampant womanizer – but that changed when he met Laura
The star officially traded in his previous life of drugs, sex, and alcohol, to be a devoted husband and father. He is seen with his wife and two of his daughters earlier this month
It was a moment that seemed straight out of a rom-com, and just like you’d expect in a movie, Laura responded by telling him, ‘Woody, I’ve been in love with you for the last two and a half years.’
Falling in love with Laura changed everything for Woody – he has since credited her with ‘providing a solid foundation’ for him and filling a ‘hole’ inside of him – but the actor still struggled to let go of his wild ways.
FEMAIL recapped Woody and Laura’s entire relationship from start to finish – and rounded up everything you need to know about the woman who helped him turn his life around. He is pictured with Laura in 1999
On first glance, it seemed as though he had closed the chapter on his late-night partying and one-night stands once and for all, but the Hunger Games star once admitted to having a drunken affair with two women that he met at a bar in 2002 – something that almost tore him and Laura apart.
Thankfully, she was able to forgive him. The two wed in 2008, and went on to welcome three daughters together, and despite once stating that he didn’t think he ‘would never calm down,’ he has opted for a much quieter life in recent years – moving to a commune in Hawaii with his family and becoming fiercely passionate about sustainable living.
The movie star has officially traded in his previous life of drugs, sex, and alcohol, to be a devoted husband and father who enjoys farming during his time off, while Laura spends her days selling health food and offering yoga classes in their town.
Despite Woody’s untamed past and infidelities, he and Laura have certainly stood the test of time – and after being together for more than three decades, they still seem as happy as could be together.
As they continue to enjoy their quiet life together in Hawaii, FEMAIL went ahead and recapped their entire relationship from start to finish and rounded up everything you need to know about the woman who helped him turn his life around.
From Woody’s early days as a player and the adorable way he told Laura that he was in love with her to his turbulent affair and how he ultimately turned over a new leaf, take a look back at the many ups and downs that he and Laura have faced together throughout their 33-year romance.
‘Drunk on success’: Before meeting Laura, Woody earned a reputation as a wild partier and rampant womanizer – and would brag about sleeping with three women a day while having ‘as much sex’ as he possibly could
After his success in Cheers, Woody said he became ‘drunk on success’ and would brag about sleeping with three women a day while having ‘as much sex’ as he possibly could
Woody grew up in Midland, Texas, with a single mother who struggled to make ends meet – his dad was sentenced to life in prison after killing a federal judge in 1979) – but after graduating from Hanover College in Indiana in 1983, he headed to New York to follow his dreams of being an actor.
After spending 14 months struggling to land a role, playwright Neil Simon invited him to join his play Biloxi Blues as an understudy. Soon after, he was cast in NBC’s Cheers, and the rest is history.
The party boy (seen in 1992) swore he would never be trapped down by marriage, comparing relationships to being kept in a ‘cage’
After Woody was skyrocketed into stardom thanks to his role in Cheers, he quickly earned a reputation as being a wild partier and rampant womanizer.
He was often photographed leaving nightclubs late at night with bleary eyes, he had numerous run-ins with the law, and Barbara Walters once described him as ‘Hollywood’s poster child for civil disobedience.’
‘I became a party animal. You couldn’t do what I did now because of all the tweeting and Facebooking. All the s**t I did back then, I’d be hung from the rafter,’ the actor once told GQ.
He also told The Guardian: ‘I was 24 when I became famous, And that’s a big adjustment. Even the most amazing people get tainted.
‘I got drunk on success. My ego flared up. There’s a lot of a**hole things that I did that I can never take back. I carry a whole fricking boatload of regrets.’
According to The Times Woody ‘had as much sex’ as he could, and would brag about sleeping with three women a day during the late ’80s and early ’90s.
But when Woody met the love of his life, Laura, in 1987, it changed everything. He said: ‘I was incapable of long-term relationships. I was with whoever would have me. Then I met my wife’
He was linked to a slew famous faces like his Cheers costar Carol Kane, actress Brooke Shields, singer Moon Unit Zappa, Bad Boys alum Ally Sheedy, and movie star Glenn Close.
He was even married once before Laura – tying the knot with Neil’s daughter, Nancy Simon, in 1985.
It’s been said that the marriage was supposed to be a joke in an attempt to rile up her father, and that they planned to divorce the next day.
However, TCM reported that when the couple headed to the divorce parlor to end their union, it was closed.
Gag or not, the couple ended up staying husband and wife for 10 months in total, before going their separate ways.
But when Woody met the love of his life, Laura, in 1987, it changed everything for him.
‘I never believed in the concept of [marriage]. I just never believed that it made any sense, this long-term monogamy thing that humans do,’ he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017.
‘Relationships do tend to get very proprietary. And so you end up, before you realize it, in a cage – maybe a very comfortable cage, but still a cage – and you can’t be the person you want.
‘Obviously, you can’t have sex with anyone else, but many times you can’t even be the person that you were before.
‘I just was incapable of long-term relationships. I was with whoever would have me. Then I met my wife.’
The woman who changed everything: Woody hired Laura to be his assistant in 1987, but soon developed feelings to her – which he professed in a romantic song that he wrote and sang to her like a scene straight out of a rom-com
Woody, 61, first crossed paths with Laura (seen in 2000), 58, in 1987, when she was a college student visiting the set of Cheers as part of a school workshop
He hired her as his assistant – but when Woody had an epiphany one night while he was away in Africa, he realized he was madly in love with her. They are seen in 2007
Woody and Laura first met on the set of Cheers, and one day later, he hired her to be his personal assistant.
Woody told the Hollywood Reporter that Laura, a San Francisco native and UCLA student, was visiting the set as part of a workshop set up by her school.
‘At some point, I was like, “Hey, does anybody here have secretarial skills? ‘Cause I could really use an assistant,”‘ the actor recalled of their initial meeting.
‘And this young woman, Laura Louie, raised her hand. I asked her to come down ’cause she was up in the stands.
‘So she came down, and I said, “We’ll meet tomorrow. Come out to my place.”‘
Laura did just that, and the two hit it off immediately. Woody continued: ‘We had one of the greatest conversations I ever had, so she became my assistant.’
Laura – who went on to graduate from the school with a Business Management and Environmental Science degree – worked as Woody’s assistant for three years before things turned romantic between them, and the actor admitted that he was conflicted by his feelings for her at first.
He said he was on a solo trip in Africa when he suddenly realized he was in love with her.
‘I just started thinking about Laura, fantasizing about her. I mean, talk about forbidden fruit,’ he said.
‘It was, “Do not have these thoughts!” But I’d have the thoughts, and they would tantalize me in such a way.
He decided to race home, take her up to one of the most romantic spots in the Hollywood Hills, and profess his feelings by singing her a love song that he wrote. They are seen in 2006
‘I remember it was as if my teeth were itching, like an un-scratchable itch inside the teeth. That’s how much it was suffusing my being.
‘It was one of those things I wouldn’t admit to myself: I didn’t want to be attracted to my amazing assistant.
‘So I come back to LA I ask all of my friends, “Do you think I should follow through on what I’m feeling?”
‘And 100 per cent of them said, “No!” because they knew my track record – I mostly just had one-night stands.’
Despite his friends – and his own conscious – telling him not to pursue her, Woody decided to profess his feelings for Laura by writing her a romantic love song.
He took her to his house in the Hollywood Hills and sang it to her, and the moment sounded like something straight out of a rom-com.
‘You could see both sides of the city and everything’s nice and perfect,’ he recalled of the spot where he serenaded her.
‘There’s a line in [the song], “I’m only 28, but I’m bored with everything I do / I’ve got nothing when I’m not next to you / Are you thinking about me, baby? / ‘Cause I’m thinking about you.”
‘It was pretty direct. I play her the song, and afterward she says, “Woody, I’ve been in love with you for the last two and a half years.”
‘The insecure actor in me is like, “What about the other six months?!” But I moved through that, and I picked her up and carried her inside to my bedroom, and we made love, and we began a great relationship.’
The affair that almost ruined them: Despite Laura ‘mellowing’ Woody, he couldn’t let go of his wild ways – and once admitted to cheating on her with two women whom he met in a London bar
Woody and Laura made their red carpet debut as a couple in 1995 (seen), when they attended the premiere for his movie Money Train together – and after that, they were inseparable
Woody and Laura made their red carpet debut as a couple in 1995, when they attended the premiere for his movie Money Train together – and after that, they were inseparable.
Laura was often photographed by his side, and it seemed as though Woody’s wild days of late-night partying and one-night affairs were finally behind him.
While speaking to the Guardian, he credited Laura with ‘providing a solid foundation’ for him and filling a ‘hole’ inside of him that he needed to be filled.
While speaking to the Guardian, he credited Laura with ‘providing a solid foundation’ for him and filling a ‘hole’ inside of him that he needed to be filled. They are seen in 1997
He explained: ‘You become a famous rock star or actor, and you’re getting all this love from people who don’t know you. And it’s just a total head trip.
‘It solves the initial problem, but the hole is not going to be filled up with that silly putty. It needs something real.’
But his rowdy ways weren’t over. While speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, Woody admitted to cheating on Laura with two women whom he met at a bar in London in 2002.
‘I went to this bar in London, and afterward these girls came up to me, these two girls, and asked me, “So you want to take a walk on the wild side?” So I said, “I guess I do,”‘ he recalled.
Woody’s infidelities were quickly leaked to the press – he later found out that one of the women made a deal with a paparazzi – and Laura soon found out. Thankfully, she was able to forgive him.
‘I was kind of hoping she wouldn’t see [the article]. I can’t remember the details – I’ve doubtless repressed it. She never saw the thing. But someone told her,’ he explained.
‘Laura – this really gives you a sense of the depth of her compassion – what she said to me after finding out was, “That must be really hard for you, to have this s**t exposed.” She just said that.
‘Now that doesn’t mean she wasn’t upset. How did I apologize? You know, just your standard Texan grovel. But she forgave me, and we’re still together.’
The couple welcomed three daughters together over the years – Deni Montana in 1994, Zoe Giordano in 1996, and Makani Ravello in 2006. And becoming a dad heavily impacted the star.
It seemed as though he had closed the chapter on his partying and one-night stands, but Woody said he had a drunken affair with two women in 2002. He and Laura are seen in 2002
Thankfully, she was able to forgive him. The two wed in 2008, and welcomed three daughters together – Deni in 1994, Zoe in 1996, and Makani in 2006. The couple is seen in 2004
‘I remember my daughter Deni coming along, and she was so pure and caring of everybody and everything,’ Woody told Esquire in 2008 about being a parent.
‘And somehow, this little being managed to get around all the obstacles – the gun turrets, the walls, the moats, the sentries – that were wrapped around my heart.
‘My heart at that time needed her. I think it’s the best thing … parenthood.’
He and Laura got married in 2008, after nearly two decades together. The Hunger Games star, who had become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood by this point, opted to have a very low-key wedding.
They tried the knot on a beach in Maui, Hawaii, surrounded by only their close family and friends, and it was said that the total cost of the intimate wedding was only $500.
‘I have found, the least expensive things can be the most personally rewarding. Take my wedding,’ he once said to CNBC.
‘We didn’t feel the need to shell out a ton of cash and do anything over the top. It was basically just a bunch of good friends getting together in Maui.
‘I paid for some food and drinks, a few hundred bucks, and that was about it. At the end of the day, it ain’t about how much it costs – it’s about having great people in a beautiful place and just celebrating.’
While Woody told the Hollywood Reporter that ‘marriage certainly softened’ him, he admitted that he doesn’t think ‘anything will ever calm him down.’
‘I got the most amazing wife I could imagine. But did marriage calm me down? I don’t think anything will ever calm me down,’ he said in 2017.
‘I frequently think of my situation. Just having this family who has been so loving and so kind to me – like, more than I deserve, maybe.
‘And in some ways I think that has mellowed me. Maybe “mellowed” isn’t the right word, but it has softened those areas that were too hard.
‘I guess there has been a change in me. If I’m honest, I have to say that something has shifted, some kind of basic core disturbance.
‘It’s like some post that you’re trying to get out of the ground, and it’s just so wedged there, you have to push it every which direction, and you can finally lift it out.’
Turning over a new leaf: Despite stating that he would never calm down, the actor has opted for a much quieter life recently, moving to a commune in Hawaii with his family and becoming fiercely passionate about sustainable living
Woody’s daughters do their best to stay out of the spotlight, and none of them have public social media accounts. He is seen with his middle daughter, Zoe, in 2015
Deni (far left) and Makani (far right) recently made a rare appearance when they attended the Champions premiere with their parents in New York City
Despite stating that he would never calm down, the actor has opted for a much quieter life in recently.
He, Laura, and their three daughters eventually settled in Maui, Hawaii – moving into a small commune on the east side of the island, which has about 200 people, per SF Gate.
They purchased a former cattle ranch overlooking Hamoa beach in 1999, before expanding and buying a second home right near Haleakala volcano a few years later.
He also owns a mansion in Beverly Hills, which he uses when he goes to California for work – but he spends much of his free time on the island.
The family took on a sustainable lifestyle after relocating to Hawaii – something Woody became fiercely passionate about.
‘It’s a really beautiful place,’ he told the outlet of the Sunshine State. ‘Everybody cares about this Earth and they’re all biodynamic farmers and just really cool people. It’s really a loving community and I’m blessed to be a part of it.
‘Nobody in our neighborhood has any power lines – we’re all solar. At the end of the night when the lights go out you just look out at the valley and the only lights are stars.
‘I run my car on biodiesel. All the paper I use is non-wood, postconsumer waste. I’m vegan and eat raw as much as I can.
‘And we mostly grow our own food – probably 90 per cent. I played a farmer for so long it’s ironic I finally got around to it.
The family live in Maui, Hawaii – moving into a small commune on the east side of the island in 1999, which has about 200 people. He and Laura are seen in 2010
‘Although I can’t take credit for doing most of the work, it does feel good puttin’ my fingers in the dirt.’
He also gushed to the Guardian: ‘Oh, Hawaii. That’s the most amazing oasis. An incredible community of people who love each other and look out for each other and you don’t worry when the kids play out in the neighborhood. Everybody knows everybody.’
Woody isn’t the only star to live in the area, and his neighbors include country music legend Willie Nelson, actor Owen Wilson, and singer Kris Kristofferson.
Woody actually became close friends with Willie after his move to Hawaii – but the musician hasn’t been the best influence on him.
He once revealed to CBS Mornings that he tried to quit smoking weed because he wanted to be ’emotionally available to his friends and family,’ but his pal Willie quickly re-introduced him to the drug.
‘So I’m with Willie, and he’s constantly, he was never comfortable with me quitting it just bothered him,’ Woody said.
‘I would always say, “Willie you know I’m not smoking,” and he’d always say the same thing like he’d heard it the first time.
‘[Once], he passed me the pen after I win a big pot – we were playing poker – I’m in a celebratory mood, and he hands me that pen and I say, “Ah s**t.” I take a big draw off of it and he says, “Welcome home son.”‘
As for what Laura does for work now, she is a successful businesswomen, who co-founded an organic food delivery service called Yoganics.
She also created another brand called Yoganics Maui, which sells health food and offers yoga classes in their town.
The family took on a sustainable lifestyle after relocating to Hawaii – something Woody became fiercely passionate about. He is seen with Laura in 2017
In addition, Woody and Laura launched a website devoted to spreading info on sustainable living together in 2003, called Voice Yourself.
It seems as though Woody’s chapter of debauchery and corruption has finally closed, and the devoted father and husband is now a gushing family man.
He once admitted to Huffington Post that his biggest regret was being away a lot when his kids were growing up, but it seems he is now very close with his daughters, who he refers to as his ‘goddess trilogy.’
The girls do their best to stay out of the spotlight, and none of them have public social media accounts, so it’s unclear what they do for work or what they’re up to.
Deni and Makani recently made a rare appearance when they attended the Champions premiere with their parents in New York City
In 2012, Woody opened up about his oldest heading off to college, and he called it the ‘single most difficult experience of his life.’
‘They are the best thing going. The oldest has just gone off to college,’ he said.
‘It was one of the single most difficult experiences of my life when it was time to separate and she walked off to the dorm and we drove away. I bawled my eyes out.’
Despite Woody’s wild past, drug use, and infidelities, Laura and Woody have certainly stood the test of time – and after being together for more than three decades, they still seem as happy as could be together.
‘She’s the kindest person I’ve ever known,’ the actor gushed of his wife to Rolling Stone in 2018. ‘There’s a purity of being that she has that I will never regain.’
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