In 1981, Hanks met actress Rita Wilson on the set of TV comedy Bosom Buddies, and their interaction sparked an undeniable chemistry. However, as Hanks was married to college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes, but the connection with Wilson was just too great to ignore.
A Second Meeting
Although nothing happened in 1981, four years later Hanks and Wilson were reunited on the set of Volunteers, but this time, they were too attracted to each other to ignore it. The signs were all there, leading Hanks to admit “Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that, I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn’t be denied.” Tom made a decision there and then about his current marriage to Lewes.
In 1987, Hanks split from Samantha, and although many believed it was purely so that he could begin a relationship with Wilson, he promised that it was much more than that. He noted, “I was 23 and my son Colin was already 2 when I married for the first time, I was not really ready to take on those responsibilities.” Nonetheless, Hanks began dating Rita and the two looked incredibly happy together, making their first public appearance together at the 1987 premiere of Dragnet.
It didn’t take Hanks and Wilson very long to take the plunge and get married, and on April 30th, 1988, the couple tied the knot. However, Hanks admitted “The success of our relationship was a matter of timing, maturity, and our willingness to have an intimate connection, When I married Rita, I thought, This is going to require some change on my part. I won’t deny that providence was part of us finding each other, but our relationship isn’t magic — the way it’s shown in movies.”
Tom knew that he did the right thing with Rita and explained, “When we first looked at each other there was definitely a kind of, ‘Hey, this is the place!’ I felt that anyway. I think the end result is that we got married for all the right reasons.” Considering he ended his first marriage for Wilson, it was reassuring for the actor that he knew that in his heart and head it was right to be with her.
Converting For Rita
Prior to marrying Rita, Tom converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, the religion of Wilson and her family. Marrying within the religion was very important to Rita, and Tom embraced every part of his new faith. He said, “I must say that when I go to church—and I do go to church—I ponder the mystery. I meditate on the ‘why?’ of ‘why people are as they are’ and ‘why bad things happen to good people,’ and ‘why good things happen to bad people.'”
After becoming man and wife, Hanks spoke candidly to Oprah and admitted about his marriage, “In real life, our connection is as concrete as me sitting here. Not that marriage doesn’t come close to being hell in a handbasket sometimes. But we both know that no matter what, we’ll be with each other — and we’ll get through it.” It seemed that Tom Hanks was confident and determined to do everything in his power to make this relationship last.
Life Ain’t So Bad
Despite many couples admitting that marriages take hard work, Hanks shut down down all claims of this, saying “They say it must be hard work. No it’s not, every now and again you know, you gotta get over some stuff but life is one damn thing after another, and it’s actually more pleasant to be able to go home with someone you like to spend time with in order to get with it.” Hanks and Wilson seemed to be a match made in heaven.
Expanding The Family
It was obvious, and Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were madly in love, so when they announced that they were expecting a child, it didn’t come as a surprise. In 1990, the couple welcomed their first child together, a son named Chester. Although Tom already had two children from his previous marriage, it was a first for Rita and the couple’s first together. They were finally able to call themselves a family, but it didn’t mean their careers were going to take a back seat.
Back To The Big Screen
In 1993, Tom and Rita shared the screen together once again as co-stars. However, this time they acted like best friends in the romantic-comedy Sleepless in Seattle. The film role was a pivotal moment in Hank’s career and quickly became loved by the masses. The director of the film, Nora Ephron, hailed the work of Hanks in the movie and added that he had cemented his place as the boy next door who everybody seemed to resonate with and love.
Partners In Life And Work
In 2002, Tom and Rita co-produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as the play resonated with her due to her own Greek heritage. When Tom was asked what their secret was for making it work, he said “I wish there was a secret, you know,” he added, “We just like each other. You start there.” Nonetheless, he did honestly dish out one important piece of advice and said, “No one should get married before they’re 30.”
Hanks grew up in a broken home, his parents got divorced when he was just four years old, and his father took the eldest three children including Tom, while his youngest brother remained with his mother. He didn’t have much stability, and by the age of 10, he had lived in 10 different houses. His difficult childhood meant that he wanted to have a strong, united family of his own. That is what Tom eventually built with Rita, and was something he cherished.
Tom opened up about family and said, “Honestly, I married into a classic old-world family structure in which people like to spend time with each other and construct their lives so they can. That hadn’t been part of my existence up till then.” He added that, “In the 13 years Rita and I have been married, I’ve discovered there’s no substitute for that. There’s such an advantage to being involved in the day-to-day details of each other’s lives.”
At the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Rita wasn’t just Tom’s date, she was also his biggest fan and supporter. Wilson documented every moment of their time together on her own camera at the film festival where Hanks was promoting, The Ladykillers. The couple couldn’t have looked happier and in love if they tried. So many Hollywood couples had been plagued by divorce, but it didn’t look like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were ever going to split from one another.
When it came to discussing his relationship, Hanks wasn’t afraid to tell the truth and instead of sugarcoating his feelings, he candidly expressed about Rita, “That woman has loved me skinny, she’s loved me fat. She’s loved me bald, she’s loved me hairy. That woman, I know, loves me. So, I’m a lucky man.” It is rare to find their kind of love nowadays, let alone in Hollywood, were more marriages end in divorce than anywhere else.
True To Himself
In an interview, Rita gushed about a special moment with Tom and recalled, “I’ll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th, we were holding hands, and we were waiting for the traffic light to change. And he looked at me and he said, ‘You know, I just want you to know, that you never have to change anything about who you are in order to be with me.”
In 2015, Rita was starring in the Broadway play Fish in the Dark , and she was forced to explain she was taking medical leave from the play. She explained “With my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma. I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery.” Wilson explained that her “excellent doctors” were responsible for the recovery.
Tom Stays Strong
In this difficult moment in both Rita and Tom’s lives, Wilson couldn’t help but praise her husband and how he reacted to everything. She said, “You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this.” She continued, “I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me … who knew it would make you even closer?” When Rita was finally given the all clear, she returned to the play and went on a promotional film tour with Tom.
When Tom was later asked about his wife’s health, he replied, “Her health is fantastic. She took on not only the crisis but also the issues of women’s cancers in a way that I thought was extremely brave and beautiful. I’m glad we’re not in high school, because I wouldn’t have the courage to talk to her in the hallway.” It was clear that Hanks was inspired by his wife’s strength and motivation to help others when battling cancer herself.
Thanks For Hanks
After going through a difficult cancer battle, Wilson admitted she has a different outlook on life, saying “Once you’ve had cancer, every day is a gift, I literally wake up every morning and say, thank you, God. What a gorgeous day.” Wilson reiterated the fact that she would not have been able to be as strong if it wasn’t for her husband, Tom. For his unwavering support and love throughout her treatment, Wilson decided to pen a song for Hanks, titled “Every Day.”
Switching The Support
Wilson is usually the one supporting Hanks at his movie premiers and any red carpet events, but in 201 the tables were turned as Tom sat front and center to support Rita at her concert. Wilson gave an emotional concert to open her residency at Café Carlyle, where in between songs she spoke of her cancer battle and 28-year marriage to Hanks. When singing about her husband, Rita could not help but wipe away tears as Tom gazed adoringly at her.
The First Sighting
Tom and Rita are always the look of love on red carpets and at the premiere of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, Hanks admitted that first saw his wife when she had a guest appearance as a cheerleader on hit 70s sitcom The Brady Bunch. He admitted “I was actually at a friend of mine’s house when it aired and I remember thinking ‘that girl’s cute.'” However, it wasn’t until 1985 that Hanks actually got to date his crush.
When Hank and Wilson embarked on producing the two My Big Fat Greek Wedding movies, they never expected the film to get such a huge following. The $5 million budget overturned a whopping $369 million at the box office and even managed an Academy Award nomination. Wilson noted “We could not believe it was inching its way up and inching its way into awareness and people loving it and it felt like complete, crazy good fortune.” It seemed the couple’s success extended outside of their marriage.
Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates
In 1994, Tom Hanks appeared in Forrest Gump, and his performance won him a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor. However, Hanks told Oprah that “I view my wife as my lover, and we have a bond that goes beyond words like wife or girlfriend or mother. Without my connection with Rita, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to connect with what Forrest was going through.”
Best Friends And Life Partners
1995 wasn’t just a great year for Tom’s career as he and Rita welcomed their second son. Hanks has regularly stated that Wilson is his “best friend,” but he went further than that and said, “In addition to being my lover. And it has been that way from the very beginning,” he added. “We laugh just as much now at two in the morning as we always have. And we fight less and less.” They appeared as a strong family unit.
It is not unusual for tabloids to go after high-profile Hollywood couples, claiming that they are on the verge of divorce, through anonymous sources and opinions. Despite their strong marriage and overt adoration for one another, Tom and Rita have also been plagued by these rumors. However, when it came to addressing the negative comments about their relationship, Tom insisted that “At a certain point you have to call them out on their lies. Our marriage is really sacred to us.”
Although Hank and Rita are very much in love with each other, they are like many other couples and have their occasional tiff. Rita exclaimed they happen when it comes to driving directions, leading Tom echoing her statement, adding, “Usually when driving. That is hilarious. She’s actually telling you the truth right now. I am driving, what I always say is, ‘Just don’t you worry your pretty little head. All you have to do is sit there and ride and I will decide how to get there.'”
Keys To Happiness
In every marriage, people make up their own rules and have different ways of dealing with problems and keeping the spark alive. When asked what keeps his and Rita’s marriage a happy one, Tom replied that “We learned the secret of happiness with each other a long time ago and that’s always telling the truth.” In the 29 years that the couple have been together, they always look happy and in love, so it is clearly a recipe that works.
Making It Last
Tom admitted that he had experienced peoples skepticism over Hollywood marriages, saying “People say, ‘Jeez, it must be hard to stay married in show business.’ I think it’s hard to stay married anywhere, but if you marry the right person, it might work out.” He added that “I will say that right from the get-go, I thought there was something crazy great about her, I met her and I thought ‘Oh lord’ … there’s something cookin’ here.”
Gushing Over Tom
In 2016, Tom and Rita attended the Chanel x Museum of Modern Art film benefit honoring Hanks. Rita was blown away by the tributes to her husband, leading her to insist, “He’s amazing. It’s fantastic and it’s celebratory and I have to say I think his films all over the years have meant a lot to a lot of people. I think there’s something to be said about the choices of the films that he’s done and as a collective thing it’s pretty nice and pretty impressive.”
Hitting Back At Rumors
After the National Enquirer and Star magazine published false stories about Hanks and Wilson being on the brink of divorce, the couple hit back and demanded an apology. They said “In the past, we laughed off their cover stories of our soon-to-be acrimonious divorce because those stories were so far from true they were laughable. But our marriage is the foundation of our family, is sacred to us and we couldn’t allow such nonsense as we are about to celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary”
A Sweet Anniversary
On the couples 29th anniversary, Rita posted a sweet and intimate picture of her and Tom to her Instagram, with the caption, “29 years of marriage! Thank you, God, for bringing me this man.” It is rare to see a couple happy and so in love after almost three decades together, and the feeling on their special day was reciprocated by Hanks. He added that Rita “makes me laugh harder now than she did in 1986.” It turns out that humor is an important part of their union.
Tom and Rita’s son Chester has had his fair share of trouble, but Chester brought his parents into lawsuit after a car crash in 2015. Chester rear-ended someone with a car he co-owned with his Tom and Rita, leading court documents to say “negligently permitted Chester to operate their vehicle and thus, in addition to Chester, are responsible for physical and emotional injuries.” While Tom and Rita have been known to defend their son, it was the first time that the couple were brought into his issues.
In 2017. Hanks and Wilson opened up on their new role as grandparents. Rita asserted, “We’re the cool grandparents,” while Tom added “When you have grandkids, if you’re with one of them — or all three of them – look, there’s no book, no radio, no TV, you’re going to be entertained by them every moment that you’re there. Sit back and watch the show!” Despite Hanks and Wilson being an A-list couple, the most important thing to them was family.
Work Together, Play Together
In 2018 it was announced that Tom Hanks was going to make his Los Angeles stage debut as Sir John Falstaff in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ new production of Henry IV. But Tom was not about to take to the stage without Rita as his wife was also confirmed to be joining the cast. Wilson last appeared as Celia in a production of As You Like It, back in 1989, but this is the first time in over 23 years that Tom and Rita would act together.
Despite being an iconic Hollywood actor, when it comes to his marriage, Hanks is a very humble man. He said, “I still can’t believe my wife goes out with me. If we were in high school, and I was just funny, I’d never have the courage to talk to her.” He added, “I told her long ago, ‘if you and I were at the same high school I wouldn’t have had the courage to speak to you.’ Too vivacious, too beautiful, too popular – everything – too upbeat, too positive.”
Secret To Happiness
When asked about his secret to a 30-year marriage, Tom replied, “My secret to a happy marriage is just being married to the right woman. I got lucky with the wonderful Rita Wilson. I’m the luckiest man alive.” Having been married once previously, Tom clearly knows what he is talking about when it comes to a happy marriage. The couple will soon celebrate 30-years together and are amongst the few Hollywood couples who can claim so.