Actor Bill Paxton was married twice, the first time to a Texas woman named Kelly Rowan (now Kelly Greenwell), although they divorced years ago.
Paxton died suddenly of a stroke after complications from heart surgery, TMZ reported on February 26. The actor – known for his versatile roles in Hollywood hits ranging from Titanic to Twister – was married to his second wife, Louise Newbury, at the time of his death.
Some sites say Paxton’s first wife was the OC actress Kelly Rowan, but the rep for actress Kelly Rowan says that is not true. Paxton’s first wife is involved in the Texas arts scene, according to The Fort Worth Star Telegram.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Rowan Married Paxton in the 1970s
Kelly Rowan married Bill Paxton in 1979. They divorced in 1980, less than a year after they married, and they had no children.
Paxton was the Emmy-award winning star of iconic Hollywood movies like Aliens. The actor, who also starred in such mega Hollywood hits as Titanic and Twister, was only 61-years-old when he died. His roles in many of Hollywood’s biggest hits made him a familiar face to many.
Paxton also found acclaim when he starred as a polygamist husband on the HBO television series, Big Love.
2. In an Interview, Paxton Described Eloping With Rowan Against Her Mother’s Wishes
In an interview with Film School Rejects, Paxton went into great detail about the beginnings of his relationship with Rowan.
He said that they eloped against her mother’s wishes. “I grabbed Kelly and said, ‘We’re out of here.’ We took off and we eloped. We drove to California when she was twenty-one and I was twenty-four. The mother couldn’t stop it, but she figured out a way to ruin the relationship,” he said.
The site that conducted the interview with Paxton about Rowan – and some other sites – say that Rowan is the Kelly Rowan who is an actress on the OC television show. However, the actress’ rep denies it’s the same Rowan. The actress Kelly Rowan was born and raised in Canada, and Paxton was raised in Texas.
3. Paxton’s Ex Wife Is a Patron of the Arts in Texas
Paxton’s ex-wife, now known as Kelly Greenwell, has been described as a “patron of the arts” by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.
Greenwell was on the board of directors of the The Lone Star International Film Festival, the newspaper reported. She resigned in 2008 after the festival fired the board’s artistic director, a termination that also led Bill Paxton to withdraw his support because the director was his childhood friend.
“Tom and Bill were two of the best things the film festival had going for it. And even though [the board] had their reasons, they went at it at a very rash pace,” Greenwell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
In 2006, Greenwell was president of the Lone Star Film Society and said, “I have attended a lot of film festivals, and I have great confidence in the ability of the Lone Star Film Society, in association with Fort Worth Sister Cities International, to produce an outstanding event.”
4. Paxton Married His Second Wife in 1987
Seven years after divorcing Rowan Greenwell, Paxton married his second wife, with whom he would remain married for decades, until his death. They met on a bus in London.
Paxton was married for 30 years to Louise Newbury, the second wife. He is survived by two children with Newbury, James and Lydia Paxton. Paxton’s son, James, is also an actor who stars in USA Network’s Eyewitness.
In a statement to TMZ, the Paxton family said, “It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery.” TMZ later added, “We’re told Paxton underwent heart surgery and had complications post-op and suffered a fatal stroke.”
TMZ reported that Paxton had died “suddenly” on February 25. The news took Hollywood by shock, as Paxton had just appeared at an awards show in mid February.
ABC confirmed that Paxton died and released a family statement.
“We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father,” the statement read in part.
5. Paxton’s Family Recalled His ‘Passion for the Arts’
The family statement, released by ABC, also said that “Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker.”
The statement described Bill’s “tireless energy” and his “passion for the arts.”
His acting career began in 1975. He had minor roles in several films, including “Stripes” in 1981, “The Terminator” in 1984 and in a supporting role in 1985’s “Weird Science.” According to Daily Variety, “With a Texas twang and grizzled visage, Paxton often found himself playing military men and cowboys.”
Paxton has starred in dozens of movies, including “Aliens,” as Private Hudson, “Twister” as Bill Harding, “Titanic” as Brock Lovett and “Apollo 13” and “Apollo 13” as Fred Haise.
He was the lead actor in the HBO series “Big Love” from 2006 to 2011.
Paxton was most recently seen in the CBS TV show “Training Day,” as Detective Frank Roark, and had roles in two movies in 2016, “Term Life” and “Mean Dreams.” His final film, “The Circle,” was completed this year.