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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

The Timeline for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's Relationship

Gettyimages | Amy Sussman
By Nicholas Vrchoticky

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been in the spotlight for a long time as one of Hollywood's longest-lasting power couples. Recently, they've made headlines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic after testing positive for the virus. Now, people are wondering about the history behind this famous actor-couple, and we're here to give it to you.

It might be hard to believe but Rita Wilson isn't the same Wilson that Hanks met on his lonesome island in 2000's Cast Away. Their relationship started long before then.

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It was definitely something at first sight

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Wikimedia |

Before the couple had ever met, Hanks had seen Wilson on The Brady Bunch in 1972 when Wilson guest-starred as a cheerleader. Hanks told reporters during the premiere of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 in NY:

"I was actually at a friend of mine’s house when it aired and I remember thinking ‘that girl’s cute.'"

Hanks and Wilson wouldn't formally meet each other for almost ten years, meeting for the first time 1981 in a way most Hollywood couples get their start: on set.

Together on set


The couple met for the first on set of the ABC comedy series Bosom Buddies. Hanks would star in the show for two seasons, while Wilson guested on one episode... an episode about video dating.

Both Hanks and Wilson would go on to star in the 1985 comedy Volunteers, and this is where the magic would really begin.

Apparently, the two had an immediate and very real connection. Hanks told GQ:

"Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that. I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn’t be denied."

They finally go public

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Gettyimages | Christopher Polk/NBC

Why weren't the couple a thing at the of Volunteers? Well, Hanks was still married to Samantha Lewes, who he shares two children with.

Hanks and Lewes separate in 1986 and, though their divorce wasn't made official until 1987, Hanks and Wilson went public as a couple in December of 1986. Wilson and Hanks would go on to get married in April of 1988. From there, they'd have two children. Chester "Chet" Hanks was born in 1990 and Truman Theodore Hanks was born in 1995.

The key to their relationship success

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks
Gettyimages | Frazer Harrison

Hanks spoke with Oprah back in 2001 and explained the key to his and Wilson's successful relationship. Hanks says:

"The success of our relationship was a matter of timing, maturity and our willingness to have an intimate connection. 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."

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