How Colman Domingo and Niecy Nash Became Chosen Family: 'I Can Call Him with Tears in My Eyes'

Inside Niecy Nash's close bond with actor Colman Domingo, who officiated the Claws actress' wedding to wife Jessica Betts

Niecy Nash and Colman Domingo felt an inexplicable connection the moment they met.

"I looked into his soul and I knew. I said, 'That's my people right there,'" Nash recalls to PEOPLE of meeting Domingo on the 2014 set of their Oscar-nominated drama Selma.

"You did, you gave me a long look," Domingo adds with a laugh. "We only had one scene together but immediately we were like, 'What are you doing later?'"

The two actors, both 51, have been close ever since. "That's my family," Nash says in this week's Pride Issue. "When I was younger, I thought you were birthed into a family and then as I matured, I realize that family is also a choice, and we make it boldly every day. I can call this man at three o'clock in the morning with tears in my eyes and he's going to get up, tie his robe tight and say, 'Well, what's going on?'"

For more on Niecy Nash, Jessica Betts and Colman Domingo, pick up the Pride Issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

jessica betts niecy nash and colman domingo
Jessica Betts, Niecy Nash and Colman Domingo. Nolwen Cifuentes

The Fear the Walking Dead star was one of the first to learn of Nash's life-changing new love, and now wife, Jessica Betts — and he also had the honor of marrying them.

"I didn't see it coming," Nash says of falling for Betts, 41, a musician. "I remember calling him like, 'Hello, are you sitting down?'"

Domingo says he could hear a change in the Claws star. "It was really beautiful. When she called me and she told me about Jessica, I thought, 'I've never heard this Niecy. This is a new Niecy.' I'd never seen her this lit up and feeling so truly, fully herself."

Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts
Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts. Niecy Nash/Instagram

"And I loved [Jessica] immediately," Domingo remembers of meeting Betts. "There was a similar great baseline of love and respect being artists of color, and people who come from very simple, humble backgrounds."

"He warmed my heart," Betts says of Domingo. "He's an awesome friend to my wife and everything felt so genuine and authentic."

When asked to officiate Nash and Betts' intimate 24-guest ceremony last August, "I couldn't have been more touched by it," says Domingo, who has been married to husband Raul Aktanov, 40, since 2014.

Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts attend The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards broadcast on April 08, 2021
The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards/Getty

"What a great honor to bring one of my dearest friends together with my new family member," he says.

"That wedding was the most magical wedding I think I've ever seen in my life. I first became ordained in New York the moment that gay marriage was legal and I married the first couples on Broadway," he continues. "It's like a little quiet part of myself that I will marry people because I want to bring our people together in love."

Nash and Betts are thrilled with the outpouring of support they received — especially from the LGBTQ community — after announcing their marriage and look forward to experiencing even more joy and happiness in their life together.

"This has been such an incredible experience so far, being married to someone who is so special and dear to me," says Betts. "I want to hold on to that part of it. That's what I look forward to."

"As a newcomer to the community, a new member, I didn't know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised," says Nash, who was previously married to ex-husbands Don Nash — with whom she has three children — and Jay Tucker. "I felt seen and included and welcome. That's what we all want."

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