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Tom Hanks Has Been Married to Wife Rita for 33 Years Who He Met amid Broken Marriage to College Sweetheart

Gracious Egedegbe
Jan 26, 2022
07:00 P.M.
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American actor Tom Hanks has been married to Rita Wilson for 33 years, and they continue going strong in their relationship. Find out about their beautiful love story and how it started amid the actor's first marriage. 

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Tom Hanks is undoubtedly one of Hollywood's biggest stars and has appeared in some of the biggest movies ever. Some of the films Hanks has starred in include "Splash," "Forrest Gump," "Apollo 13," and the "Toy Story" franchise. 

Thanks to his incredible talent, Hanks has won multiple accolades in his career. These include two Academy Awards, seven Primetime Emmy Awards, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and so much more. 

Actor Tom Hanks in a photo with his wife Rita Wilson at an event. [Left] | Actor Tom Hanks with his wife Rita Wilson on their wedding day. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images

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Hanks is successful in his career and is also doing well in his marriage to actress Rita Wilson. However, his first foray into marriage did not end on a good note. Find out more about his marriage and relationships. 

BROKEN MARRIAGE TO FIRST WIFE

Hanks was a victim of a broken home as a child as he rarely saw his mom from when he was five years old. His childhood experiences came back to haunt him in his later life.

The actor tied the knot with actress Samantha Lewes in 1978 — a marriage that ultimately ended in divorce in 1987 with two kids in between them. 

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Tom Hanks attends the 18th Annual AFI Awards at Beverly Hills on January 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

A year before their marriage, Hanks and Lewes were college sweethearts and had their first child and son, Colin Hanks. Four years after tying the knot, the couple welcomed a daughter, Elizabeth.

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Hanks spoke about his divorce from Lewes during an appearance on BBC Radio 4's "Desert Island Discs" in 2016. He revealed that his decision to marry at a young age (he was 23 then) likely resulted from his loneliness.

However, despite loneliness being the motivation for his marriage, he forged ahead with it anyway because he believed he was following the natural order of things. 

Tom Hanks attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 9, 2020 in Hollywood, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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In a 2013 chat with Express, Hanks explained what he was looking for in his marriage with Lewes. He said he was looking for something he had not found as a kid. He said

"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."

Tom Hanks attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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Hanks disclosed that he was 23 while his son Colin was two years old when he married for the first time. He admitted that he was not ready to take on those responsibilities. 

Hanks and Lewes were married for only nine years before their divorce. Many years after their divorce (in 2001), it was revealed that Lewes had been diagnosed with bone cancer. 

She battled with the disease for months but eventually died in 2002. A source revealed that Hanks was devastated by Lewes's passing. 

Tom Hanks attends "A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood" New York Screening at Brookfield Place on November 17, 2019 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

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SPARKS FLY AT FIRST SIGHT WITH RITA

A year after divorcing Lewes, Hanks tied the knot for the second time to Rita Wilson. She was born Margarita Ibrahimoff in Los Angeles, California, on October 26, 1956. 

Rita is of Greek and Bulgarian ancestry. Her family changed their surname to Wilson after a local street in Southern California. She started modeling at 14 after a photographer discovered her. 

In 1981 Rita made a guest appearance as Peter Scolari's Satan-worshipping girlfriend on the sitcom "Bosom Buddies." Four years later, she made her first starring role in the 1985 comedy "Volunteers," playing the role of a Peace Corps worker. 

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Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, at the film preview of "Apollo 13" in London on September 7, 1995. | Photo: Getty Images

Rita and Hanks met for the first time when they starred in "Bosom Buddies." The pair met again in "Volunteers" years later. Hanks was still married to Lewes at the time but has revealed in an interview that he and Rita felt an immediate spark. 

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He said they just looked at each other, and sparks flew. He then asked her if it was the real thing for her, and it could not be denied. 

Although Hanks's divorce from Lewes was not finalized until 1987, he and Rita had already made their relationship public by December 1986. 

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HAPPY MARRIED LIFE

Hanks and Lewes tied the knot on April 30, 1988. They have now been married for 33 years and are still going strong despite the demands of their career and the pressures of maintaining a marriage in Hollywood. 

The couple looked radiantly beautiful on the day of their wedding, with Hanks wearing a black suit over a white shirt and bow tie while his wife shone in her lovely wedding gown. 

During a 2001 chat with Oprah, Hanks said the success of his and Rita's relationship was a matter of timing, maturity, and their willingness to have an intimate connection. 

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He disclosed that when he married her, he thought it would require change on his part. He admitted that providence was part of what brought them together but admitted that their relationship is not magic. 

Hanks explained that he and Rita's connection is concrete in real life. He acknowledged that marriage could be hellish sometimes but said they know that they would always be with each other and get through challenges no matter what. 

Hanks also told Oprah that his relationship with Rita had helped him play some of his roles excellently. He said: "I view my wife as my lover, and we have a bond that goes beyond words like wife or girlfriend or mother."

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Talking about how Rita influenced his movie roles, he said he could construct several things in the 1993 film "Philadelphia" because the way his character felt about his lover is the same way he feels about Rita. 

Hanks has opened up about how his older kids were raised differently because of his differing success levels

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Also, he said something similar happened when he played Forrest Gump, who loved Jenny. Hanks said if he had no connection with Rita, he might not have connected with what Forrest Gump was going through. 

Rita and Hanks are active on social media and usually post about each other. In 2018, Rita celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary by sharing a snap of their wedding day and another recent photo of them. She captioned the post: 

"30 years on April 30. '88 To '18. Magic numbers. Hanx and @RitaWilson."

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In 2020, the couple made news headlines after contracting COVID-19 in Australia. However, they kept their fans updated throughout their ordeal and eventually recovered from the virus. 

In one of their update posts on Instagram, Hanks shared a picture of himself and Rita and thanked everyone in Australia for taking good care of them. 

He disclosed that they had COVID-19 and were in isolation. The actor added that they were taking it a day at a time and paying heed to advice from experts. 

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The couple enjoys going on trips and events together. Last year, they attended the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opening. Rita shared a photo of herself and Hanks at the opening and described the museum as a wonderful place. She added

"I hope you'll come visit. Designed by Renzo Piano it is a sight to behold. And so is my handsome date."

Rita also celebrated her husband's 65th birthday last year by posting a picture of him on a bicycle, which she captioned: "Riding into 65 better than ever! Happy Birthday to the love of my life! Xox."

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THE KEY TO ENDURING MARRIAGE

Being married for 33 years is no mean feat in Hollywood, but Hanks and Rita have done so excellently well, much to many people's admiration. 

Hence, it is not surprising to find people wanting to know the secret to their marriage. Hanks shared his thoughts on the matter during a chat with People in 2015. He said

"I wish there was a secret, you know. We just like each other. You start there."

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The "Philadelphia" star also expressed awe about winning Rita's love. He said he could not believe she still goes out with him and said if they were in high school and he was just funny, he would never have had the courage to talk to her. 

Meanwhile, during an interview with Piers Morgan, Rita shared the story of a special moment she shared with Hanks. She 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."

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While waiting, Hanks looked at his wife and told her, "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." Rita, who dedicated her debut musical album to Hanks largely because of the memory she has of that moment, said

"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."

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BLENDED FAMILY OF SIX

Rita and Hanks share a blended family of six. Besides his two children with Lewes, Colin, and Elizabeth, Hanks shares two kids with Rita, sons Chet and Truman. 

Colin followed in his dad's footsteps and became a successful actor, while Elizabeth became a writer despite appearing in some of her dad's popular movies as a child. 

Chet, born in 1990, launched his musical career in April 2021, while Truman, born in 1995, has a career in film though he prefers to work behind the camera. 

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Hanks has opened up about how his older kids were raised differently because of his differing success levels. He admitted making mistakes in the early days of his fatherhood as he was not there for his older kids, Colin and Elizabeth, who were born when he was very young. 

However, Chet and Truman were born after he had an established career and had different lives as a result. Despite these differences, Hanks has raised his children to be successful and independent individuals with help from his ever-present and beautiful wife, Rita.

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