The Messy Cheating Scandal Woody Harrelson Has In His Past

Woody Harrelson's love story with his wife of more than two decades (and partner for close to 40 years) reads a little like a rom-com plot, but don't get it twisted. Harrelson and Laura Louie's marriage has had its fair share of tumult — not least thanks to a messy cheating scandal he was involved in, years ago.

Let's start with the good part, though. As Harrelson recounted in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he first met his future bride when she visited the set of "Cheers." Though she was there as part of a media group, Harrelson asked if anyone would consider working for him as an assistant, and she jumped at the chance. The two hit it off, she got the job, and they had a great working relationship ... and then the feelings kicked in. 

For Harrelson, a vacation in Kenya became the site of a sudden romantic thoughts he couldn't shake. "It was, 'Don't have these thoughts!' But I'd have the thoughts," he recounted. Eventually, Harrelson revealed his feelings to Louie, through a song — and luckily for the actor, she shared that she felt the same way. "She says, 'Woody, I've been in love with you for the last two and a half years," he reminisced. Three kids and a wedding confirmed by People later, and it's safe to say, the rest is history.

Well, kind of. Enter, aforementioned messy scandal. 

A night out in London took a turn for the worse

Back in 2002, Woody Harrelson starred alongside Kyle MacLachlan in "On an Average Day" on London's West End. Ironically, in the lead-up to the play's premiere (which, per Playbill, centered on a decidedly not average day), Harrelson had a not-so-average night of his own. As the actor later recounted to The Hollywood Reporter, a drunken evening took a debaucherous turn when he was approached by two women asking him if he was up to, "Take a walk on the wild side." The "Cheers" alum obliged — and then a third woman arrived, as they headed for Harrelson's abode.

A drunken foursome would have been scandalous enough all on its own. However, it turned out that one of the women involved was on the payroll of none other than the notorious (and now-defunct) UK tabloid, News of the World. And, no, that particular detail wasn't a fluke. Far from it, Harrelson told The Hollywood Reporter that the woman in question had orchestrated the entire thing. "She got a photographer to come out," he said. He knew it would make papers, and that, it did. 

However, miraculously for Harrelson, Laura Louie stood by him after the cheating scandal. Granted, he admitted that it took a "Texan grovel" to get her to stay. But, he gushed to The Hollywood Reporter that he was blown away by, "The depth of her compassion." Tbh, same. 

... but he turned the story into a movie

Woody Harrelson's real-life escapades in the U.K. capital certainly sound movie-esque, so it's no surprise that in 2017, he turned it into just that with his insanely innovative, live-broadcast film, "Lost In London." As it turns out, he did it as a way to move on from the scandal — and, as he told The Hollywood Reporter, "A weird love letter to Laura [Louie]."

"I feel like it was a purging or a letting go ... of some of the guilt," he explained to the outlet. And, luckily for the actor, it seems to have been a gesture well-received. On top of being the person who typed the screenplay for him, his missus was a fan. "I know Laura really loves the movie, and that probably means more than anything," he gushed. Hey, a full-length feature film, screened live and lauded by critics is a pretty impressive apology!

There's no denying that Harrelson's antics made for a harrowing period in his life, but it's great to see that, more than a decade after it happened, he was able to reclaim it in his own unique way. As he told The Guardian ahead of the film's release, in the absence of being able to go back and change what happened, finding the comedy in the situation was his saving grace — even though, at the time, "There wasn't a speck of humor in it." Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.