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After Samuel Johnson lost his girlfriend to suicide, finding love was too painful.

This article was published in July 2019.

Behind the infectious smile, giving spirit and down-to-earth personality for which he is beloved, Samuel Johnson’s life away from the bright lights of fame has been peppered with a unique kind of grief. One that stems from the loss of a loved one by suicide.

A tragedy he’s not only experienced once in his life, but three times.

We sit down for a one-on-one with Sam Johnson. Post continues after video.


Samuel’s mother ended her own life when he was just three years old. And in 2005, he lost his close friend Heather through suicide.

The 46-year-old actor touched on the third suicide in 2019. That of his former girlfriend, Lainie Woodlands, who ended her life in 2006, two months after Heather.

She was 20 years old at the time.

"I’ve been too scared to be in another relationship since my girlfriend died 13 years ago," he told Who magazine of his love life in response to rumours he was romantically linked to his late sister Connie's best friend, Emma Rooke.

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In 2015, he spoke about Lainie on Meshel Laurie’s Nitty Gritty Committee podcast.

He called her "the most beautiful creature in the world", "boisterous”, "fun-loving" and "full of smiles".

"I met and fell in love with a beautiful young lady called Lainie," he told Meshel.

"She was a bit too amazing though and I couldn’t quite handle it so I kind of bailed on her and then she [took her own life]."

The ordeal left the actor in what he has since called "a very dark place".

"When someone takes their own life, you know, you live forever without any of those questions getting answered. And you have to come to terms with the fact that there’s no single answer," he told Australian Story back in 2008.

In an interview with ABC Radio at about the same time, he discussed the effect consistent tragedy has had on him.

"The three key women in my life have left me. It floored me. You know, I mean, it’s still floored me. It’s just ruined me emotionally and I’m very sad now."

In 2017, he told Anh Do the pain of losing the "love of his love" is unrelenting; "With every year it gets more profound. My sadness grows".

Samuel Johnson opens up about his personal life on his latest episode of No Filter. Post continues after audio.

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While his scars run deep, he knows how to look after himself when it comes to his own mental health.

For starters – he doesn’t like labels.

"In my mum’s day, when my mum was sick, they called it manic depression," he told Mamamia in 2018. "Connie had it, I had it and [his eldest sister] Hilde’s got it – absolutely no questions asked. But we’re in a world now that is open about it, and I treat it now and I’ve treated it for years."

These days, it’s called bipolar disorder, and he calls his management of it – diet, exercise, sleep, mindfulness – the "boring" part of life.

"The combination of doing the work, getting the therapy, taking the medication and growing older and more weary has kind of led me to a state of relative calm," he said.

When it comes to his love life, while he says the pain from losing Lainie is too great to try again, he adds that currently, life is "perfect" and he doesn’t feel the need to change it.

"I’ve chased the demons away for now," he said.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.