Denzel Washington’s Son Looks Like His Twin — He Paved His Own Path as an Actor & Still Loves Cooking for His Folks
Throughout his childhood, John Washington wanted to chart a career for himself, without being referred to as Denzel Washington's son.
John followed in his father's footsteps because he suffered an injury in his sports career.
He made his dad cry when he said how proud their entire family was of him and how much they loved him.
Academy Award winner Denzel Washington is a father of four kids, sons John and Malcolm and daughters Katia and Olivia Washington – whom he welcomed with his wife, Pauletta Washington.
The couple married in 1983 and welcomed their kids throughout their union. Their eldest child John was born in July 1984, followed by their second, Katia, in November 1987. Denzel and Pauletta's twins, Olivia and Malcolm, arrived in April 1991.
Actor Denzel Washington and his wife, actress Pauletta Washington, pictured with their children and relatives at the Washington's Footprint Ceremony on January 16, 1998 ┃Source: Getty Images
John is the most well-known among the couple's children, having established an acting career just like his famous father. He developed an interest in acting early and even appeared in some of his dad's films in the 1990s.
The Los Angeles native began to take the profession seriously in 2010, having starred in multiple movies like "Malcolm & Marie," and has appeared alongside some of the elite actors in the industry worked with critically acclaimed filmmakers such as Christopher Nolan in 2020 and David O. Russell in 2022 for the movie "Amsterdam."
Actors Denzel Washington and son John David Washington attend a basketball game at Staples Center on December 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California ┃Source: Getty Images
He is best known for the films, "Tenet," 2018's "The Old Man & The Gun," "Monster" and the sports series, "Ballers" which aired from 2015 to 2019. But only some people know what the Morehouse College graduate did before launching his acting career.
David's Childhood & Football Career
John was initially passionate about football growing up and said it was the only way he could become independent besides being associated with his father.
The running back was signed by the National Football League's St. Louis Rams in 2006 and later said he perceived the sport as therapeutic.
Football star John David Washington of the St. Louis Rams poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day on April 1, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. ┃Source: Getty Images
"I was able to express a lot of my frustrations. My anxieties, my resentment [about] how I was treated or looked at, because of who I was related to. I hated the word nepotism. I knew that if I did well on the field, they can't say that my father did it," said John in August 2018.
Eventually, he achieved "success on the field," which enabled him to gain recognition for his efforts. People saw him as an "individual," and he said he constantly "needed that validation of independence."
However, once his sports career began to take off, John could not escape the fact that he would always be referred to as Denzel Washington's son. "It's not John David Washington that runs for 200 yards and five touchdowns. It's Denzel's son runs for 200 yards and five touchdowns. So, I see this thing was going to be inescapable," he expressed.
John went undrafted in the 2006 NFL draft but signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. He parted ways with the team four months later but was re-signed with their practice squad.
Even when he was signed with them, he emphasized that the press still penned, "Denzel's son makes the Rams!" That was when he realized that being related to the filmmaker would always follow him and decided to just as well follow in his acting footsteps.
But it was not an easy transition. The rising star did not know where to begin. Notably, John knew when he was five years old that he would someday become an actor. He recalled:
"I knew every one of my father's lines in 'Glory' - I broke the VHS tape – but I hid my love of acting to make it as my own. I was in a whole other business, but I always wanted to dip into the arts."
He also revealed his parents were behind him and that his mom is his "biggest fan" while his father showed him "tough love."
John's first notable role was in "Ballers," where he starred as Ricky Jerret, a competitive NFL star." A family friend suggested he audition for the role, but he had doubts about it.
At the time, he was on pain medication for his torn Achilles and was not feeling up to the challenge. Moreover, he believed it would be wiser to study the craft before diving into it. However, his pal insisted he could do both, so he took the plunge, arriving at the audition in crutches.
Following a second audition, a woman told him he should never play football again because he was born to act. "She believed in me. Eight auditions later, I get the job," he recounted.
These days, John has his eyes set on stage and wants "to do Shakespeare" and perform live in the theater. That is his main goal.
Acting Career & Relationship with Parents
John still spends time with his family. In fact, when the coronavirus pandemic began, he left his Brooklyn residence, moved back home, and slept in his childhood room.
He revealed that he does help out with the cooking at home with his loved ones. During his appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" guest host Samuel L. Jackson mentioned that John has good grilling skills.
"That's my son, I love my boy, and I'm just happy he's his own man. He's independent."
John was with his father when he was nominated for his first-ever Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama category for his performance in Spike Lee's "BlackKklansman."
Pauletta Washington, son John David Washington, and father Denzel Washington pose at the backstage of the play "The Piano Lesson" on Broadway at The Barrymore Theater on November 18, 2022 in New York City. ┃Source: Getty Images
Meanwhile, his essentially proud mother was on speaker phone as she was on a flight to Chicago, and she cried after hearing the news. John recalled her telling him she loved him and was proud of him.
While John's parents couldn't be prouder of his achievements, he has also been vocal about his admiration for his father. When Denzel was named The Greatest Actor of the 21st Century by The New York Times, his beloved son said it was long overdue:
"It's about time. I think he's the greatest to ever do it, so it was a very proud moment for our entire family."
The "Man on Fire" star got emotional when he learned what his son said. "Wow, I'm speechless," he expressed. When asked what he thought about his children's career paths, he said Hollywood should also "watch out" for David's sister, Olivia.
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