The Truth About Woody Harrelson's Marriage

There's just something about Woody Harrelson that screams "cowboy of Hollywood." Perhaps it comes from the roles he picks, such as deranged serial killer Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers or the aggressively ecstatic zombie slayer Tallahassee in the Zombieland franchise. Regardless of his on-screen persona, the Texas native is beloved by countless fans, or as Esquire once splashed on the cover of their magazine, he's "a national treasure."

Sure, Harrelson was once the sort of wildcard you'd expect him to be. "I had a lot of anger, a lot of rage [in my childhood]," he told Esquire. This "rage," unfortunately, continued into his adulthood, yet The Hunger Games star believes that lifestyle is behind him. "I would say that I have changed, and pretty late into my life," he mused to The Hollywood Reporter. "I look back at myself and say, 'That guy is an a**hole,' to be perfectly frank," he added.

So, what caused such a mental shift in Harrelson? Well, it appears the actor finally grew up and settled down, landing in a committed relationship with his now-wife of many years, Laura Louie. Having traded in the fast lifestyle of the A-list, Harrelson and Louie have, it seems, built a totally serene oasis, focusing on raising their daughters. Here is the truth about Woody Harrelson's marriage.

In his younger days, Woody Harrelson wasn't into marriage

Woody Harrelson didn't exactly have a positive influence for what a healthy, committed relationship should look like. According to Esquire, his mother raised her three boys alone, as Harrelson's father "abandoned the family when Woody was seven." By the time the future star was 18, his dad was arrested for murder. As it turned out, Woody's father, Charles Harrelson, was a contract killer — essentially the closest thing to Woody's Natural Born Killers character, Mickey Knox.

Two years after his father's incarceration, Woody experienced his first arrest. As he recalled to The Hollywood Reporter, a cop stopped him when he was "20 or 21... [for] jaywalking." The actor told the outlet that he carried "a lot of rage," and with that, disbelief in monogamy. "I never believed in the concept of [marriage]. I just never believed that it made any sense," he explained. "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."

Sure enough, as the Cheers star detailed, he "was incapable of long-term relationships," simply sleeping "with whoever would have [him]." However, as fate would have it, it all changed with Laura Louie. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, "Then I met my wife."

Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie have been together for decades

Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie married in late December 2008 "in front of a small group of family and friends" in Maui, Hawaii, as noted by Us Weekly. According to the outlet, at the time, they were already together for a whopping 20 years, so how exactly did the blissful pair meet?

"This media workshop came to see Cheers," Harrelson explained to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, referring to his long-lasting eight-year stint on the comedy series. "At some point, I was like, 'Hey, does anybody here have secretarial skills? 'Cause I could really use an assistant.' And this young woman, Laura Louie, raised her hand," he recalled. After a meeting the following day and having "one of the greatest conversations [he's] ever had," the star hired Louie. "She was so great that every other person in Cheers got an assistant after that," Harrelson mused.

Louie stuck around as Harrelson's assistant for the next three years "the day after [he] met her," and the rest was history, or as the actor quipped to The Globe and Mail, "I gave her a promotion."

Woody Harrelson couldn't shake Laura Louie off his mind

Prior to starting a relationship with Laura Louie, Woody Harrelson was, as The Times put it, a "serial womanizer." In fact, "in the late 1980s and early '90s," the former sitcom actor was known as "Wicked Woody." In 1985, he even tied the knot with Neil Simon's daughter, Nancy Simon — yet it still kept up with Harrelson's shenanigans as it wasn't exactly a romantic union. According to The Times, the marriage was initially thought to be a "joke," yet the gag "turned sour when it took 10 months for the divorce to come through."

When he met Louie, things suddenly changed. "It was one of those things I wouldn't admit to myself: I didn't want to be attracted to my amazing assistant," Harrelson mused to The Hollywood Reporter. So, instead of acting on any hidden impulses, the Venom actor brushed them aside for three years, leaving his assistant to go "to Africa over Christmas." While away, thoughts of Louie entered his mind, and he began "fantasizing about her."

Upon returning to Los Angeles, Harrelson sought out advice from his friends, asking if he "should follow through on what [he's] feeling." Unsurprisingly enough, all of them said no "because they knew [his] track record." Nonetheless, the celeb was determined to tell the truth, and after serenading Louie through song, she revealed, "Woody, I've been in love with you for the last two and a half years."

Laura Louie stayed by his side even after his foursome scandal

We're assuming Laura Louie was wholly aware of Woody Harrelson's reputation when she embarked on a relationship with the unpredictable Texan. After all, he did leave her "at the altar in Fiji in 1992 as [he] flew to party with friends in Hawaii"... and also referred to her as his "POSSLQ (Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters)" (via The Times). Whether or not either of those things were intimate gags we'll never have the full goss on, Harrelson and Louie's relationship had endured a lot — including a foursome scandal.

As the Kingpin star recalled to The Hollywood Reporter, after a 2002 trip to a London bar, the star had two women come up to him. "[They] asked me, 'So you want to take a walk on the wild side?' So I said, 'I guess I do.' And then I hopped in the car, and another girl I didn't even know hopped in." As the actor went on, "We went to my place, and one of the girls was a [paparazzi] or worked for them ... she got a photographer to come out."

Naturally, the celeb found himself in the tabs — as did his wife. "What she said to me after finding out was, 'That must be really hard for you, to have this s**t exposed,'" he recalled to the outlet. While she certainly was still mad, Harrelson added, "but she forgave me, and we're still together."

Having a family has 'mellowed' Woody Harrelson out

Thankfully, since his "Wicked Woody" days of the late '80s and '90s (via The Times), Woody Harrelson has calmed down — something he credits his family for. The actor shares three daughters with Laura Louie: Zoe, Makani, and Deni. "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," the actor mused to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."

Sure enough, the actor fills his spare time with hobbies he probably would have deemed too boring during his bachelor heyday, such as playing chess (he enjoys speed chess online and the occasional faux pas at The World Chess Championship), and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having received his first stripe in 2020.

"I guess there has been a change in me," Harrelson concluded to The Hollywood Reporter. "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."

Laura Louie and Woody Harrelson's wedding didn't cost much

Woody Harrelson has been acting since the '80s, has three Oscar noms and one Emmy Award under his belt, and according to Celebrity Net Worth, he happens to be worth a whopping $70 million. Needless to say, you'd think he would have spared no expense for his big wedding day to Laura Louie — yet that wasn't the case at all.

"But often, I've found, the least expensive things can be the most personally rewarding," the actor told WealthSimple Magazine in 2017, before adding the following surprise: "Take my wedding, for example. The whole event cost a total of $500." As Us Weekly notedthe big day was a small affair in Maui "near Harrelson's home in Kipahulu," with only the couple's closest friends and family in attendance. According to the outlet, there was still some star power at the event, including "Owen Wilson, Willie Nelson, and Sean Penn." What's more, Us added that "Alanis Morissette sang at the ceremony."

As for Harrelson and Louie's rings? According to the actor, they "were only about $300 each," yet he considers his one of his "most meaningful possessions." As he explained to WealthSimple, "Over the years my relationship with money has shifted in some ways, but in other respects, it has stayed the same ... I always seek a balance: I don't want to be a spendthrift, but I also don't want to be needlessly lavish."

Sustainability is important to Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie

Woody Harrelson has been an environmental activist for decades. In fact, according to SFGate, the actor "credits Ted Danson, his Cheers co-star, with first bringing environmental issues to his attention." Since then, Harrelson has made headlines for his involvement in sustainability, from "brazenly" planting industrial hemp in front of a county sheriff in Kentucky (via Norml) to scaling the Golden Gate Bridge and dangling from it in a logging protest (both incidents led to Harrelson's arrest).

As SFGate cleverly points out, Harrelson's reckless early days of protesting are over, and much how he "matured as an actor," he's also "matured as an activist." In 2001, Harrelson and his wife, Laura Louie, founded VoiceYourself, a website serving as "a destination for many seeking sustainable living tips, as well as healthy diet advice and eco-friendly product recommendations." As the actor wrote on the site, "VoiceYourself promotes and inspires individual action to create global momentum towards simple organic living and to restore balance and harmony to our planet."

Although a decade after launching, "the [reins] for VoiceYourself's day-to-day operations were handed to new caretakers," it doesn't mean Harrelson's interests in environmentalism have dwindled. In 2013, he launched Step Forward Paper, a paper company that produces "a new kind of paper, made from straw rather than wood, as noted by HuffPost, and in 2020, he narrated a climate change documentary called Kiss The Ground.

Laura Louie was there for Woody Harrelson after the taxi incident

Like many other A-list celebrities, Woody Harrelson has had to deal with some pretty publicized scandals. Unfortunately for him, however, two of his most infamous debacles happened within the same week.

During a chat with The Hollywood Reporter about his 2002 foursome exposé in London, Harrelson revealed that, remarkably, there was more to that trip. "That same week, I went to this club and went to get in a taxi. I was trying to pull out the ashtray, and it came out with this screeching eerrrrch," he began. "And then I couldn't get it back in, and the driver's screaming at me, and finally I got pissed at him screaming, so I was screaming back. And then the next thing you know, he wouldn't let me out, but I got the door open," Harrelson revealed, before explaining that while the cab driver called the police, the celeb had bolted out, and so, he was suddenly on the run from the cops.

While the cabbie told The Sun a rather different version of the story, one which involved the star "kicking the inside of [the] taxi" for seemingly no reason, and going "completely bonkers" (via The Guardian), Harrelson was ultimately caught and arrested. "I went to jail," he soberly told The Hollywood Reporter. "Laura got me out. It stayed with me because it was one of the worst nights of my life."

Woody Harrelson helped Laura Louie start a business

While Laura Louie has miraculously stuck by Woody Harrelson during his lowest moments (and believe us, there have been plenty), the actor has also been there for her, too, especially as she embarked on her first entrepreneurial project.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Louie's friend, Konda Mason, a social entrepreneur, had an idea for "an organic grocery delivery service" in L.A. in the mid '90s. She decided to ring up Louie, whom the outlet describes as "a fellow vegan she'd met at a yoga workshop at an ashram," and "within a few days the two friends became business partners and co-creators of 'Yoganics.'" As the California Institute of Integral Studies writes on Mason, "she successfully brought to market the first organic produce section in a major grocery store in the LA area."

So, how'd the two pals successfully launch their business? "With the financial help of Louie's live-in partner, Woody Harrelson," wrote the Los Angeles Times. The pair started off small, making "deliveries ... with three employees and an old van," and only managing to deliver 20 boxes in their first week. By 1996, two years after they launched, the pair "[delivered] over 300 boxes every week," and even attracted celeb clients such as "Brad Pitt, Helen Hunt and Oliver Stone."

Woody Harrelson and Laura Louie lead a mellow life

In the mid 1990s, Woody Harrelson moved his family to Costa Rica, although, as he explained to The New York Times, he'd still tote his brood with him on set wherever he needed to be. In the late '90s, however, after an encounter with his friend Willie Nelson, the actor was convinced to make the move to Hawaii. "The next thing you know, I'm moving to Maui," he told the outlet.

It looks like the move did wonders for Harrelson's lifestyle, as the actor now "eats only vegan raw organic, does a lot of yoga, has a lot of friends" — you know, healthy stuff (via The Globe and Mail). "It's a really beautiful place," Harrelson told SFGate of the "sustainable community of about 200 people" where he, Laura Louie, and his daughters live. "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."

Harrelson clearly loves his new, slower life, telling SFGate that "we mostly grow our own food ... I played a farmer for so long it's ironic I finally got around to it." That being said, he still makes time for his family, whether that means taking them on set with him or making time to travel the world together.

Family turned Woody Harrelson 'into a better human being'

Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson have been BFFs for years — and they aren't shy to gush about their bond. "Owen Wilson is my best buddy," Harrelson proudly declared to the AP in 2017, before quipping, "Now that doesn't mean I'm his best buddy. But, he's my best buddy." 

It looks like the two Hollywood icons have passed on their bond to their kids, as well, with Harrelson's youngest daughter, Makani, having formed a friendship with Wilson's son, Ford. "They're quite good friends," The Hunger Games actor said while visiting The Ellen DeGeneres Show. As Wilson added that Makani took Ford to "show and tell" at her school, Harrelson revealed, "Ford was her show and tell." Aw!

And while Harrelson is clearly chummy with his closest pals, it looks like, ultimately, being with his kids and wife, Laura Louie, is what suits him best. "Before, I'd been gregarious – someone who enjoyed the company of others. But during Cheers, the pressure of people that I didn't know constantly wanting to talk to me made me recoil and become less outgoing," he explained to The Guardian. "I went through a period of arrogance and having my head up my a** ... luckily, this life and my family – my wife and my daughters they kind of loved me into a better human being." Aw.