There are all kinds of leading men in Hollywood. There are the macho tough guys who star in all the action movies — people like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Liam Neeson. There are the more tortured, quiet types including Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Gosling. And of course, there are comedians like Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller. However despite the all that talent, one man stands out from the rest: Tom Hanks.
Tom has had an illustrious career, first starring in a slew of hit romantic comedies and then delving into more serious character work in the 2000s. But regardless of how diverse his movies may have been, Tom has always stuck to playing roles where the character is more or less “good.” He’s finally revealing the motive behind this choice, and it’s catching everyone off guard.
Overall, Tom Hanks is a wholesome person. He was born in Concord, California, to a hospital worker and a cook, and he describes his teenage self as being religious, responsible, and extremely shy.
However, these traits would not be the only ones to define Tom throughout his life, as his diligence and compassion would also translate into a deep talent and passion for the craft of film.
When he was in college, he used to regularly attend plays by himself. He remembers seeing works penned by greats such as Tennessee Williams and Ibsen, and also recalls not once bringing a date.
This love of the theater ultimately led Hanks to take acting classes, a forum in which he felt he could express his true self. Finally, one day in 1979, he made a decision that would change the course of his life.
He decided to pack his bags and move to New York City, a place he believed held the key to his future. Sure enough, soon after moving he made his film debut in a low-budget slasher movie titled He Knows You’re Alone.
He Knows You’re Alone
After this, the young star’s career took off. He starred in critical and commercial hits such as the uber-romantic Sleepless In Seattle, woefully tragic Philadelphia, and undeniably iconic desert island flick Castaway.
However, although the range of films that he’s starred in is broad and diverse in its own rite, you might notice that there happens to be one common thread running through all of them.
In all his years of acting, over the course of literally hundreds of movies, Hanks has consistently gravitated towards characters that are fundamentally good. In other words, he never plays the villain.
Although it could reasonably be chalked up to a random twist of fate that Hank’s roles have worked out this way, the actor actually has a very specific reasoning behind this.
The reason Hanks doesn’t choose to play on-screen characters who are villainous and malicious is because he himself doesn’t have an ounce of hate. Tom is a good guy, so good that he can’t even pretend otherwise.
“It’s because I never get them,” he remarked to The New York Times, “because bad guys, by and large, require some degree of malevolence that I don’t think I can fake.”
He continued, going on to say, “I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody. Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”
It’s exceedingly rare to find a person so inherently good that they are incapable of even envisioning themselves committing evil acts. That’s what truly makes Tom Hanks a cut above the rest.
Of course, we probably didn’t even have to hear him say this to understand it on a visceral level. It’s evidenced by many of his roles where he plays characters, both real and fictional, who literally epitomize the idea of goodness.
For instance, in 1994 he played the iconic Forrest Gump, a mentally simple yet emotionally rich character who goes through a series of traumatic events while remaining kindhearted and compassionate.
Over two decades later, in 2016, the charming actor’s career was still going strong. It was then that he starred in Sully, a movie based off a real man who emergency landed a flight in the middle of the Hudson river, saving 155 lives.
Most recently, Hanks has played the ultimate example of kindness and positivity: Mr. Rogers himself. The 2019 movie serves as a tribute and biopic of the late entertainer. Incredibly, while filming he found out he was actually related to Rogers: they’re sixth cousins.
However, while Hanks doesn’t rely on anger or feelings of revenge to play his iconic characters, he does acknowledge that he has special talents and motivations of his own that he channels to perfect his craft.
“I’m not mysterious. You’re not going to get a huge amount of anger out of me or anything like that. I’m not coming in to dominate a room, but I am coming in to seduce it somehow.” So there you go. Tom Hanks won’t fight you, but he will seduce you.
While Tom is certainly a stand-up guy, he’s also had his fair share of drama over the years — especially when it comes to love. He and wife Rita Wilson have been married for years, but behind the perfection there has been some serious trauma.
Together, actor Tom Hanks and actor/singer-songwriter Rita Wilson are one of Hollywood’s few everlasting couples, having graced the celebrity world with proof of true love for decades. Despite their perfect exterior, however, the talented duo had to overcome tremendous obstacles.
Their dazzling love affair began after fatefully crossing paths in 1984 on the television set of ABC’s popular sitcom Bosom Buddies, which starred none other than Tom Hanks. They had no idea what would come of this flirtatious run-in.
Wilson appeared in an episode of the sitcom, and later starred with Hanks in the 1985 buddy comedy Volunteers, alongside John Candy. Unfortunately, by this point, there was one itty bitty thing standing in the way of their lust for each other.
You see, Tom Hanks was still (unhappily) married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes, at this time, which obviously put a wrench in the beginnings of the legendary Wilson and Hanks romance.
Sadly for Samantha Lewes, Hanks later told GQ about the incredible spark he felt with Wilson from the very jump (sorry, Sam). “Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that,” he confessed. Luckily for Hanks, Wilson felt the same.
Hanks swears that his marriage was effectively over by the time he met Wilson, which makes the situation a bit less cringe-worthy. While Hanks’ divorce to Lewes was finalized come 1987, Hanks and Wilson revealed their budding relationship to the world at the 1986 premiere of Three Amigos.
While this red carpet reveal must’ve felt risky considering Hanks wasn’t yet officially divorced, it also must’ve felt liberating for the love birds. This obstacle may have seemed hindering from the outside, but this was nothing compared to what was to come.
On April 30, 1988, love was in the air, and so was marriage. Hanks and Wilson’s love was no longer simply budding, it bloomed into a graceful flower for the world to see. There was not a worry in sight.
Over the next few years, the newlyweds arrived together at heaps of movie premieres and award shows, one of which was the 1989 Academy Awards, where Hanks was nominated for his memorable, youthful role in Big. Things were going great for the couple.
The bliss continued throughout the entirety of the ’90s, as they brought a beautiful baby boy into the world, jointly starred in 1993’s romance film Sleepless inSeattle, and, not to mention, Hanks had received immense recognition for his acting efforts, in the prestigious form of two golden statues…
Hanks won back-to-back Best Actor Oscars for his roles in 1993’s Philadelphia and 1994’s Forrest Gump. Hanks’ speech for his Gump win was particularly heart-warming, as he gushed over his gorgeous wife for millions of people to hear.
The New York Times
Hanks later said, “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.”
Over the following years, they had another child, co-produced 2002’s quirky hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and celebrated each other’s countless solo endeavors, such as Wilson’s 2012 pop album entitled AM/FM. They were each other’s rocks, blessed with love, health, family, and success… until the horror of 2015 showed itself.
The Hollywood Reporter
In 2015, Rita Wilson gleefully starred in Larry David’s pitch black comedic Broadway play, Fish in the Dark, but unfortunately, the thespian was forced to leave the production.
The Hollywood Reporter
Wilson announced that she was taking a medical leave of absence due to a gut-wrenching breast cancer diagnosis. Considering Hanks and Wilson’s relationship hadn’t suffered any real road bumps in the past, how would they work through this worrisome news?
The strong-minded Wilson had graciously said at the time, “Last week, 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.”
Wilson, who strongly recommends getting a medical second opinion (as it may have saved her life), felt blessed to have caught the godforsaken cancer early, but that didn’t mean dark thoughts regarding her own mortality didn’t cloud the starlet’s mind.
In 2019, a cancer-free Wilson revealed that while she mentally explored the “what ifs” of her frightening diagnosis four years prior, she gave Tom Hanks pretty interesting instructions if something were to happen to her…
In a meaningful Instagram post, she explained what she had said to Hanks during this ghastly period in 2015. “So I had a serious discussion with my husband that if anything happens, I wanted him to be super sad for a very long time and I’d also like a party, a celebration,” Wilson wrote.
Her instructions somehow exude morbid, yet simultaneously whimsical, appeal. But this quirky duality isn’t out of character for Wilson, as a song on her 2019 album, Halfway To Home, is even called “Throw Me a Party.” We guess everyone has their own personal way of processing, but Hanks also played a large part in her healing.
Wilson gratefully spoke of Hanks’ positive influence on her throughout her breast cancer journey. “He was really wonderful—very loving. He came to my doctor’s appointments with me. [And] he made me laugh. That’s what you really want to do,” she disclosed to Vanity Fair.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been married for over 30 years and as far as what the public knows, the two consistently use the powers of true love, loyalty, and emotional support to overcome whatever evil the universe throws at them and they aren’t alone.
While Hollywood romances can be fickle, there are a few power couples that have fostered strong romantic connections like Hanks and Wilson. Actress Jada Pinkett and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself, Will Smith, have been happily married for a whopping 20 years.
2. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara: Comedy fans know Jerry Stiller from his many movie appearances and his role in Seinfeld. His wife of 61 years, Anne Meara, died in 2015; they had two kids together, including actor and director Ben Stiller.
3. Christopher and Georgianne Walken: Christopher and Georgianne Walken have been together since 1969. Christopher once expressed interest in playing a husband on screen, but he’s typically offered quirkier films, such as The Dead Zone and True Romance.
4. James Garner and Lois Clarke: This couple was wed in 1956 only 14 days after they first met. James Garner, who passed away in 2014, was famous for his roles in movies like The Great Escape. He once had this to say about married life: “Marriage is like the Army; everyone complains, but you’d be surprised at the large number of people who re-enlist.”
5. Bob and Ginny Newhart: Stand-up comedian Bob Newhart has been married to his wife Ginny for 55 happy years. They were wed in 1963, and they have four beautiful children together.
6. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward: This famous Hollywood couple married in 1958. Paul Newman won an Academy Award for his role in The Color of Money. He was famously quoted as saying this about being loyal to his wife: “I have steak at home. Why would I want to go out for a hamburger?”
7. Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft: Celebrated actress Anne Bancroft will always be remembered for her iconic role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate, but also for her long and loving marriage to the equally successful comedy director Mel Brooks. The two were married for 41 years before her death in 2005.
8. Don and Barbara Rickles: The late Hollywood insult-comic Don Rickles may have had a sharp tongue and prickly persona when he was on stage, but he and his wife, Barbara, enjoyed 52 years of loving marriage.
9. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy: This acting couple frequently starred alongside each other in films like To Dance With a White Dog and Foxfire. The pair was married from 1942 until Jessica Tandy’s death in 1994. They enjoyed over 50 years of happy marriage.
10. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson: It’s not surprising Hollywood good-guy Tom Hanks has been happily married for a long time. He and his wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, have enjoyed 29 long years of matrimony and counting!
11. Jack Fisk and Sissy Spacek: Anyone who has seen the movie Carrie will always remember Sissy Spacek’s haunting role as the titular character. She and husband Jack Fisk, a film production designer and director, have been married since 1974. They have two daughters together.
12. Ron and Cheryl Howard: When acclaimed Hollywood director Ron Howard isn’t making award-winning films like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, he spends his time with his wife of 43 years, Cheryl, who’s also an actress.
13. Jeff Bridges and Susan Geston: Since 1977, Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges and his wife, Susan Geston, have been happily paired. In classic Jeff Bridges fashion, he said sticking with marriage is “true grit, man.”
14. Don Gummer and Meryl Streep: Three-time Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep is one of the most admired actresses in Hollywood, and she’s enjoyed a long, happy marriage with Don Gummer, a well-known American sculptor.
15. Samuel L. Jackson and LaTanya Richardson: Hollywood heavy-hitter Samuel L. Jackson might play a hardened guy in his movies, but the truth is he’s got nothing but love for his wife of 30 years, LaTanya Richardson.
16. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman: Many people would recognize this Hollywood mega-duo as the irresponsible parents in the kids’ film Matilda. While they famously split in 2017, they’d be together since 1982—a whopping 35 years!
17. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne: Fans of heavy metal all know Ozzy Osbourne as the lead singer of the classic band Black Sabbath, but most don’t know he and his wife Sharon have shared 36 years of happy (and sometimes wild) years.
18. Chevy Chase and Jayni Luke: Comedy icon Chevy Chase is known for his laugh-out-loud performances in the National Lampoon movies and Saturday Night Live. He’s been married to author Jayni Luke for 36 years.
19. Bono and Ali Hewson: Bono, the lead singer of the ultra-famous rock band U2, is not only known around the world for his music, but his humanitarian work as well. He and his wife, Ali Hewson—a social activist herself—have shared 36 blissful years together.
20. Denzel and Pauletta Washington: It’d be tough to find a list of the greatest actors of all time that didn’t include Denzel Washington, known for his stellar performances in films like Training Day and Remember the Titans. He once said his greatest life project was his family; he’s been married to his wife Pauletta for 35 years.