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Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski fell in love on Crocodile Dundee. Then Linda lived in 'Paul's shadow'.

Crocodile Dundee is one of the most iconic Australian films of all time – not only for its storyline, but also for the relationship it produced between its stars Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski.

At the time of filming in 1986, Paul was still married to his first wife Noelene Edwards. The pair had met at a Sydney swimming pool back in 1958, where Paul worked as a lifeguard before becoming an actor. Paul was married by the time he was 19, and himself and Noelene went on to have five children together.

They were married for over 20 years, separating and divorcing in 1981, before then remarrying a year later.

By this point, Paul was a household name thanks to his roles on The Paul Hogan Show and his comedy sketches on A Current Affair. Then Crocodile Dundee came along, and it propelled him to fame in the US.

The film about a crocodile hunter from the Australian outback going to America turned out to be one of the biggest movies of 1986. 

In Crocodile Dundee, Linda played street-smart NYC travel reporter Sue Charlton. Both her character and Paul's had lots of chemistry on screen – and that chemistry extended to off-screen as well. Because ultimately, life imitated art. 

Watch the trailer for Crocodile Dundee. Post continues below.


Video via Paramount.
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Paul left Noelene soon after meeting Linda, who is around 20 years his junior, and the co-stars began a relationship together. It was revealed later that Paul and Noelene didn't speak for 17 years following their breakup. Linda also had a previous marriage under her belt. 

By 1990, Paul and Linda were married.

"He's great as a husband. He's great to live with. It's more interesting [to be with an Australian man] because American men are easier to mould," Linda said to 60 Minutes

Paul said: "I'm a romantic kind of guy." And indeed he reportedly is – giving Linda a mansion that he had custom-built for her, as a wedding gift.

For a few years after Crocodile Dundee, the pair continued to star in various movies together including Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles and Almost an Angel.

Soon afterwards, Linda said she decided to give up acting, as she was having to always "turn down lots of stuff – most of it where I'd play the girlfriend of some funny man". 

In 1998, Linda and Paul welcomed their only child together, a son called Chance. And with motherhood at the top of her agenda, Linda explained in an interview that she never wanted to return to acting after having Chance.

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"I was about to turn 40 and just wanted to have a baby, and time was running out and I was miserable, really, in the last two jobs I'd done. I'm 43 years old, I've got a baby, I'm happy and content. I've reached the point in my life where I'm happy and have gotten over the whole thing."

And their family of three were content for quite some time. 

Then near the end of 2013, Paul and Linda announced they were separating after 23 years of marriage.

Paul, Linda and their son Chance in 2013 prior to their divorce. Image: Getty.

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Linda said that she was the one who had filed for divorce, saying she wanted to be her own person without Paul by her side.

"I lived in Paul's shadow for many, many years and it's nice to feel my own light right now," she said to Sydney Morning Herald. "Honestly, we just naturally grew apart. One of our problems was we really had nothing in common and, over time, that happens to a lot of people."

In the settlement, Paul received all the rights to his Crocodile Dundee character and the film company, while Linda walked away with a cool one-off payment of $6.25 million. Neither paid child nor spousal support, and shared custody of their son Chance.

For Paul he shared a similar sentiment, saying that in the beginning, their differences attracted them to one another. 

"We were opposites, and we were attracted to each other for a long time. Opposites in everything. From the food we ate, the music we liked, the entertainment we liked, the colours, the clothes, the places, everything, It worked anyway. It was 20 wonderful years, two or three that were sort of like worn out," he explained to the Sunday Herald at the time.

But as for whether or not it was a 'failed marriage', Paul explained that it was a description he disagreed with – because it had been successful for a long time – and 'til death do us part' doesn't fit everyone. 

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"I'm very flighty – a woman lasts for about a quarter of a century and then they get bored with me. How can you 'fail' after a quarter of a century. Failed marriages are when two people stay together even though they have long ago lost interest."

Over the years, the pair remained friendly and continued co-parenting, with Linda saying their divorce was "completely amicable".

"We talk on the phone all the time, I go over and have coffee. We're completely friendly. Everybody's happy."

Reflecting on the fact that he copped criticism for leaving his first wife for a woman 19 years younger than him, Paul said it made sense, looking back on how it all played out.

"It was inevitable," he explained in a recent interview. "It was that old thing of what they call in the movies 'shipboard romances' where you never fall in love with your leading man or leading lady. It won't last. And they're right. It won't last. After about 20 years it wears off."

In 2017 Linda remarried and now lives in Morrocco with her husband and business partner Moulay Hafid Babaa. 

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As for Paul, he hasn't remarried since the divorce with Linda.

At 84 years old, he continues to reside in America and for years has been speaking of his desire to return down under. 

"I'm not in the place I'm meant to be," he told Tracy Grimshaw from his Los Angeles home, for a special episode of A Current Affair in 2022. "I'd be happier if I was back in Sydney permanently, because I'm sort of, I'm bored here."

He explained that it's his youngest son Chance – whose whole life is in the United States – that has kept him in America.

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"I'm here with Chance and I'm the only family he's got really here. He likes visiting there (Australia), but he's got his life here. He has all his friends, his bands, girlfriends, hobbies, everything. He was raised here. He is a Yank, he is a Yaussie, a Yank-Aussie. My other children are nearer 60 than 20 and so I sort of cling to my last child, I think, a little bit."

But he added: "I'm not allowed to complain about anything. I've had such a gifted life. I've had so many wonderful things happen to me and without deserving them and so I shouldn't complain."

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As of recently, his health hasn't been stellar though.

During the interview, Paul said a lot of his issues now stem from a kidney problem – it's a condition called retro peritoneal fibrosis where a benign growth wraps around the abdominal aorta which presses on his kidney. 

"I've been better. I had a problem and the treatment fixed it, but it shrunk me. The muscles all shrank and the strength has come back, but it left me feeble. I'm now in the business of trying to put a bit of fat on… because you feel the cold too much when you've got no body fat." 

He said his son has to often open jars for him, with Paul also saying he now has a pacemaker too.

"I'm held together by string. I maintained [my health] right up till 79, I was still fit. I'd still take out most 40-year-olds. And then I turned 80 and it's lovely that saying that 'turning 80 is not for sissies' because things start to fall apart." 

While life has become a lot quieter, Paul said he realises he's "lived an extraordinary life" which he's extremely "happy and grateful for".

Feature Image: Getty.

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