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Samuel Johnson's Tragic Story That Shocked Us All Last Night

Brave Samuel Johnson had us in tears last night during the series finale of the brilliant ABC series 'Anh Do's Brush With Fame'

Sitting down with the comedian and artist to have his portrait painted, the 38 year-old actor opened up about his sister Connie's lengthy cancer battles as well as the tragic loss in 2006 of his girlfriend Lainie Woodlands, who took her own life.

The Gold Logie winning actor spoke of how his family home in Victoria’s Daylesford region burnt down just a few weeks after he born, before speaking openly for the first time about the death of his birth mother when he was only three years old.

Samuel's mother sadly committed suicide while he was still a young child and his candor stopped Anh Do in his tracks while he painted his portrait.

Johnson revealed that “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,” 

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

The youngest of three children, Johnson admitted her death caused some “relief” for his family.

“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.”

Despite this tragic story of his early days, thankfully Samuel has countless happy memories from his childhood.

“My dad was a phenomenal man, he was more than capable of bringing up the kids on his own,”

“I remember growing up with a dad who was authoritarian, but also effeminate ... so I had a two-in-one deal.

“I had a great childhood. I had heaps of fun. I don’t remember hardship, I remember the value of not being able to get everything you want.”

An understandably emotional Johnson told Do that the loss of his girlfriend Lainie Woodlands still haunts him.

“I’m still very upset for her, and for her family and it’s probably my life’s biggest sadness,” 

“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. I feel it a lot more profoundly than the loss of my mother.”

Anh struggled to process Samuel's story before finally asking him: “Sam — so you’ve lost your mum, your girlfriend, and now your sister is gravely ill — do you ever think ... how unfair is life?”

But Johnson replied: “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 or somebody you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

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