Article By: ASHER FOGLE
The way Cecil B. deMille award winner Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, met is common in Hollywood: The couple first crossed paths on a TV set. But their love and commitment to each other is much more special. Defying the odds, the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood star and the Girls actress will begin their 32nd year of marriage this coming April. To commemorate all those years of love, we’re taking a look back at some of the couple’s most defining moments.1984: Co-Stars
Tom met Rita in the early 1980s while he was starring in the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies. Rita appeared in an episode about a video dating service. Then, they co-starred (along with John Candy) in the film Volunteers. At the time, Tom was still married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes. But Tom has been credited with telling GQ that he and Rita felt an immediate spark: “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.”1986: A Complicated Beginning
Although Tom has described his immediate chemistry with Rita, he also says that his first marriage was already broken. “I was looking for something I had not found as a kid,” he told Express in 2013. “And a broken marriage meant I was sentencing my own kids to the sort of feelings I had at their age. I was just too young and insecure for marriage. 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.” When Tom and Samantha split, their son Colin was 7 and daughter Elizabeth was 3.
The couple happily looked to the future and married on April 30, 1988. And 31 years later, they’re still going strong. “The success of our relationship was a matter of timing, maturity, and our willingness to have an intimate connection,” Tom told Oprah back in 2001. “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. 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.”1989: Ruffles and Romance
When Tom won back-to-back Oscars (only the second actor in history to do so), he gave all the credit to his relationship with Rita: “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,” he told Oprah, adding that was why he thanked her in his acceptance speech for Forrest Gump.
“I said that I have a woman who teaches me what love is every day,” he continued. “Maybe that sentiment is possible to fake, but for me it’s really true. What makes me different from others is that I verbalize this stuff. A lot of people would flee from what they think is award-show cheesiness, and I don’t. I often joke that my speeches are very personal moments that play themselves out in front of billions of people.”
That year, the couple also welcomed son Truman Theodore.1995: A Princess and an Astronaut
While Tom got his hands dirty for his hand and footprints ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theatre on July 23, he threatened to wipe them on a laughing Rita. She’s his “best friend,” Tom told Oprah. “In addition to being my lover. And it has been that way from the very beginning. We laugh just as much now at two in the morning as we always have. And we fight less and less.”Advertisement – Continue Reading Below2002: By Each Other’s Side
Tom kissed his wife after he received the 30th AFI Life Achievement Award on June 12 in Hollywood. That year, they also co-produced my Big Fat Greek Wedding (which Rita helped make into a film after the play by the same name resonated with her own Greek heritage). “I wish there was a secret, you know,” Tom once told People of their enduring marriage. “We just like each other. You start there.” That said, he does have one piece of advice: “No one should get married before they’re 30,” he continued.2004: Happy Family Life
Through the years, parents Tom and Rita have worked very hard to keep all of their kids out of the spotlight. But here, the family made a rare public appearance at an LA Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on September 12. After growing up in a broken home (his father remarried twice; his mother, three times), Tom says Rita shaped his vision of a healthy home life: “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 ’til then,” he told Oprah. “And you know what? 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. It’s a marvelous fabric to exist in.”2011: Meeting Royalty, Times Two
Tom took home his sixth Emmy Award for HBO’s Game Change, Rita recorded a solo album, AM/FM — and the couple seemed to settle into a period of bliss. “I’ll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th” Rita told Piers Morgan that year. “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.’ Literally, a wave of — if love is a feeling, or a cellular thing that happens to your body — it went through me, and that’s pretty much who he is, and how he’s been.”2013: Golden Years
When Rita starred in the Broadway play Fish in the Dark that spring, she tweeted a picture of Tom surprising her backstage on March 7. But less than a month later, Rita announced that she was taking a medical leave of absence from the play. “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,” she revealed to People. “I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.”
Later, Rita told The New York Times how supportive and caring her husband was during her cancer treatment: “You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this,” she said. “I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me … who knew it would make you even closer?”Today: Still Each Other’s Biggest Fans
Much has happened for the couple since Rita was given a clean bill of health in May 2015: She’s released three albums and produced several movies (including Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), and Tom has starred in a number of films of his own, including the critically acclaimed dramas Sully, The Post, and, most recently, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. And through it all, of course, the couple has continued to support each other — including when Rita received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this March. “She has a highlight reel that any of us would envy,” Tom said of his wife, while commemorating her career at the event.
Now how’s that for #CoupleGoals? 😍