FORMER Secret Life of Us star Samuel Johnson has broken his silence over the tragic death of his partner, Lainie Woodlands.
Woodlands killed herself 16 months ago. A bitter, seven-month legal battle then ensued between her parents over where she was to be buried.
A healthy, fit and composed Johnson revealed his pain at the loss of his partner during a frank appearance on Channel 10's 9am with David and Kim on Tuesday.
He spoke of burning out after his long stint on the popular drama series Secret Life of Us, how he became self-destructive to mask the pain of Woodlands' death and how he still struggled daily with his loss.
"I don't think you really ever do overcome it, as such," Johnson said.
"I just think you try to learn to live with it -- which is what I am trying to do every day.
"At the moment I am trying to focus less on mourning the loss of her and more on trying to cherish the memory of her.
"It is a daily struggle, as anyone who has lost someone knows."
Johnson said he did not cope with his pain or his professional commitments in the months after Woodlands' death.
"I got really self-destructive," he said. "I kind of just spiralled after that and did anything I could to mask the pain, if you like.
"It is only really recently I have been able to come out and through that.
"I am still dealing with it.
"The problem was I could not get anything done.
"I left my job on Nova 100, regretfully, because I could not manage it. I could not get it done.
"I was not functioning. Now I have gone through the down to get back up, I can function now and get things done and actually finish them."
Johnson is returning to the stage after a seven-year absence, appearing in the touring production of Weary: The Story of Sir Edward Dunlop, which opens in Melbourne next month.
Article in Herald Sun Sunday