"Bill was, I can say, more alive than the others, so his not being part of the world is hard to comprehend," the 38-year-old actress said to ET's Kevin Frazier and Nancy O'Dell on Sunday at the Oscars red carpet. "He was a good friend and had a huge heart."
Paxton died unexpectedly on Feb. 25 due to complications from surgery. He was 61.
Goodwin, who played one of Paxton's on-screen wives for five seasons on the hit HBO series Big Love, confessed that she almost canceled her plans to attend the Academy Awards, but her husband, Josh Dallas, changed her mind.
"Josh reminded me of two things this morning when I frankly didn’t want to come tonight because it felt wrong somehow. Josh said [Bill] loved everything in Hollywood history and everything with Hollywood tradition and he would've been so furious with me if I didn’t come celebrate," she continued. "And also, you can always see a piece of his big heart in somewhere in all of his characters -- even in his villains. And so to pop one of his movies into the DVD player is to hang out with him and I can do that whenever I need that Bill hang."
Goodwin said that Big Love, which ran from 2006 to 2011, was a "dream job" for the entire cast and she and Paxton had the best time working together on set. "Well, what was crazy was that was a show devoid of drama for a show so full of conflict in story. We would have done it for 40 years," she gushed. "Everyone loved each other. There was so much support, there was so much to respect and there was so much fun. And in fact, I think we probably wasted -- this was back when people shot on film -- and we wasted a lot of it giggling."
"I never wanted to leave," Goodwin added. "We had to shut down for two hours the day that it was announced that we weren’t coming back because the camera guys were crying and the cameras kept shaking. So they were like, 'Go to dinner. Call your families.' No one ever wanted to leave."
Many celebrities, including fellow Big Love alum Aaron Paul, paid tribute to Paxton on social media today. "Bill Paxton was hands down one of the greatest guys that I have ever met," Paul posted on Twitter. I feel lucky to have called him my friend. Bill, I love you. RIP."
Paxton starred in a slew of films, including blockbuster hits like Aliens, Apollo 13, Titanic and Twister. The four-time Golden Globe nominee also starred in the History Channel's Hatfields & McCoys, and most recently, CBS' new show, Training Day.