Woody Harrelsons first marriage was joke meant to last for a day

Woody Harrelson uncomfortable when asked about Brad Pitt

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Mr Harrelson is a prolific actor having starred in a number of high-grossing, blockbuster films. He has picked up several accolades during his career, including a Primetime Emmy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, in addition to nominations for three Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. The Texas-native first became known for his role as bartender Woody Boyd on the NBC sitcom, ‘Cheers’.

It was there that he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series from a total of five nominations.

He went on to claim Best Actor for his role in ‘The People vs Larry Flynt’ in 1996 and Best supporting Actor for both ‘The Messenger’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, 2009 and 2017 respectively.

Tonight, Midway, a World War 2 action drama he stars in, which follows on from the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, airs on Channel 4.

Things were not always so clear cut for the actor, however.

After graduating from Indiana’s Hanover College, he moved to New York in order to start his acting career, but his hopes for a big break never materialised.

According to the Los Angeles Times, after 14 months and 17 jobs, Mr Harrelson was ready to throw in the towel on his acting career.

By chance, he managed to land an understudy role in Neil Simon’s play, ‘Biloxi Blue’, and later “enraged” the playwright by marrying his daughter, Nancy, in Tijuana.

According to an archived Hollywood.com 2007 report, the pair “whimsically married” in 1985 as a joke, intending to divorce the following day.

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However, when they arrived at the divorce parlour the next day, it was closed because it was Sunday.

Rather than wait until it was open, the pair ended up staying married for ten months.

He later told USA Today: “We had to get a summary dissolution through Jacoby and Meyers.

“I think at the time Neil was a little bit worried I might try to go after her money.”


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Nancy’s father was a Pulitzer and Tony-winning playwright, who masterminded comedy classics like Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple.

Mr Harrelson and Ms Simon eventually divorced in 1986.

He would later make it clear that he did not believe in the idea of being tied down.

In 1997, he told the American broadcaster Barbara Walters: “I don’t believe really in [the] institution [of marriage].

“You can’t really say you’re gonna have and hold someone ’til death do you part because you don’t know.”

Mr Harrelson and Ms Simon’s divorce coincided with Mr Harrelson’s career taking off.

In 2015, he told The Guardian how this period was extremely difficult for him: being thrust into the world of fame and success during a formative period of his life.

He said: “I was 24 when I became famous.

“And that’s a big adjustment.

“Even the most amazing people get tainted. And I got drunk on success.

“My ego flared up. There’s a lot of a****** things that I did that I can never take back.

“I carry a whole fricking boatload of regrets – too many to mention. We’d be here all day.”

Mr Harrelson stuck true to his opinion on marriage until 2008, when he tied the knot with Laura Louie, a co-founder of an organic food delivery service.

They had met 20 years before in 1987 when she worked as his personal assistant.

Today, they reside in Maui, Hawaii, and have three daughters: Deni, Zoe and Makani.

Midway airs tonight at 9:30pm on Channel 4.

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