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Samuel Johnson reveals both his mother and former girlfriend committed suicide

“With every year it gets more profound. My sadness grows.”
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Our hearts have been breaking for Samuel Johnson since we learned about his sister Connie’s painful battle with cancer, but last night we discovered his past is even more distressing than we knew.

On Anh Do’s Brush With Fame, the 38-year-old actor revealed that both his mother and former girlfriend Lainie Woodlands had committed suicide.

Johnson described the death of Woodlands as his life’s “biggest sadness” after revealing he had broken up with her just hours before she took her own life in 2006.

Samuel Johnson tells Anh Do Woodlands suicide was “a great loss – one that I feel a lot more profoundly than the loss of my mother”.

“The love of my life hanged herself,” he told comedian and artist Anh Do. “And, I’m still very upset for her and for her family.”

“I’d definitely say it’s probably my life’s biggest sadness. And in a way, the more time goes by, the more it hurts.

“You know how they reckon that you come to terms with your grief as you go along? Not with this one.

“With every year it gets more profound. My sadness grows.”

The Logie-winner described her death as, “a great loss – one that I feel a lot more profoundly than the loss of my mother”.

Johnson was only three-years-old when he lost his mother.

“I was too young to really gauge the effects of it, but she had all kinds of psychosis, she was in and out of institutions,” he told the host.

“She was in and out of institutions — she tried over and over again … countless times.”

In fact, Johnson, the youngest of three children, admitted his family felt some “relief” for her when it was over.

“By the time she eventually succeeded, I’m told there was a bit of relief, for her. According to my older sister, it was probably best that I didn’t grow up with her.”

And then disaster struck again when Connie received her first cancer diagnosis at age 11.

“I looked over at my dad, he was just white … he was curled up on the couch, weeping, bawling,” he said.

Do, a veteran comedian an artist, struggled to respond to the overwhelming tragedies of Johnson’s life.

“Sam — so you’ve lost your mum, your girlfriend, and now your sister is gravely ill — do you ever think … how unfair is life?” he asked.

But Johnson, true to form, was quick to react with positivity.

“I’m not a victim. I don’t know if I’m just bullsh – ting myself, but I see my time with Lainie as a gift.

“Maybe I lost her earlier than I would have liked but I had some of her. I got to share my life with her.

“You don’t always get as much as you want of everything, you don’t get as much of your loved ones as you want. But you get them, don’t you?”

If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, contact Lifeline (lifeline.org.au) on 1311 14 or visit Headspace at (headspace.org.au). Visit Beyond Blue at (beyondblue.org.au) or call 1300 22 4636. You can also contact the Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.

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