Inside Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson's Long-lasting Love Story
From falling in love to recovering from COVID-19, the couple has been Hollywood's gold standard for relationship bliss for more than three decades
The start of something new! Tom Hanks, who was previously married to college sweetheart Samantha Lewes — with whom he has two kids, Colin and Elizabeth — has said he felt an immediate spark when he and Wilson worked together on the set of 1985's Volunteers. "Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that," Hanks told GQ. "I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn't be denied."
FALLING IN LOVE
After he and Lewes split and subsequently divorced, Hanks began dating Wilson, whom he's been with for 30 years. "I was 23 and my son Colin was already 2 when I married for the first time," Hanks said in 2013, recalling the demise of his first marriage. "I was not really ready to take on those responsibilities."
HOLDING ONTO YOU
The couple, who looks just as in love now as they did 30 years ago, are seen here holding onto each other at the Hollywood premiere of Dragnet in 1987.
In April 1988, Hanks and Wilson tied the knot. "The success of our relationship was a matter of timing, maturity and our willingness to have an intimate connection," he told Oprah Winfrey. "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."
TAKING IT EASY
“They say it must be hard work. No it’s not,” Hanks said of being married to Wilson. “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.”
A STAR IS BORN
In 1992, Hanks received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Wilson was right by his side for the event.
1993's Sleepless in Seattle marked the second time the pair shared the big screen — though in this movie, they played onscreen best friends rather than lovers.
"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 [Gump] was going through," Hanks told Oprah Winfrey of Wilson, following his second consecutive Oscar win in 1995 for his performance in 1994's Forrest Gump.
A TIGHT BOND
It's no secret Wilson is Hanks' "best friend," as he's regularly said through the years. "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."
HAND IT TO ME
Wilson and Hanks came together for the actor's hand imprint ceremony in front of the Mann's Chinese Theater in 1998.
TAKE YOUR PIC
Say cheese! Wilson documented every moment of the pair's time at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, where Hanks' movie, The Ladykillers, was premiering. "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," Wilson said in 2016.
HAVING A BALL
In a rare public appearance in 2004, Hanks and Wilson took their kids — sons Chet and Truman — out to a baseball game between the L.A. Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The couple who matches together, sticks together! That saying rang true for the longstanding pair, who sported complementary ensembles at the Hollywood premiere of The Ladykillers in 2004.
THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
“I wish there was a secret, you know. We just like each other. You start there,” Hanks previously said about what it takes for a successful marriage. Also? "No one should get married before they're 30," he declared.
In 2006, Hanks came out to support his leading lady as she made her Broadway debut in Chicago.
THE LOOK OF LOVE
"I'll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th," Wilson told Piers Morgan of her husband. "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."
The longtime couple made beautiful music together while performing onstage at the Children's Health Fund's 25th Anniversary Concert in 2012.
In 2015, Wilson revealed to PEOPLE that she had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstruction after being diagnosed with breast cancer. "You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this," Wilson told the New York Times. "I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me ... who knew it would make you even closer?"
NEVER STOP LAUGHING
"I'm a lucky man," Hanks said of his wife in 2016. "She could've done better."
"I still can't believe my wife goes out with me," Hanks told PEOPLE of his wife of 31 years. "If we were in high school, and I was just funny, I'd never have the courage to talk to her." Excuse us while we swoon.
IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH
"I think that having the virus at the same time made it that little bit easier,” Wilson told The Guardian. “We were taking care of each other instead of having the pressure of taking care of one person and no one taking care of you or understanding that the person at home needs a break.”