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Denzel Washington + Pauletta Washington: Inside Their 37-Year Love Story

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

While Hollywood is notorious for having celebrity romances that don't last, there have been a few couples that have proved that true love exists and they have what it takes to stay together forever. One of the prime examples of this is Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and his wife of over 30 years, Pauletta Washington. 

Denzel first met a young Pauletta Pearson when they both appeared in the TV movie Wilma in 1977. But as he explains in an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan, he met her on set but didn't really "meet" her until a year later when they both ended up at the same party.

"I had talked at that party about going to see a play. I went to see the play, and at intermission the lights came up and she was sitting [there]. She said she just happened to go see the play...I'm getting in trouble as I speak!"

Pauletta Washington
Denzel and Pauletta Washington at the 65th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Ca., on March 29, 1993/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Apparently it took a lot of convincing for Denzel to get Pauletta to accept a marriage proposal. He told Access Hollywood that he had to ask her multiple times.

"You heard it here first," Denzel said. "She turned me down, she said no. And since it was three times, that means she turned me down twice."

Pauletta Washington
Denzel Washington with Malcolm Washington, Katia Washington, and Pauletta Washington at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

But the couple tied the knot in the '80s and even renewed their vows in South Africa years later with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as officiant. The couple has welcomed four children together during their marriage. All four children are pursuing careers in the film industry. Their oldest, John David Washington, starred in the Oscar-nominated Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman. Daughter Katia has served as a producer and production assistant on several of her father's films, including Fences. Twins Olivia and Malcolm have studied filmmaking and acting. Olivia wants to follow in her father's footsteps in front of the camera after studying at NYU. 

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While Denzel has become a major Hollywood star over the past 30 years, Pauletta has also continued acting. She recently was in the Spike Lee TV series She's Gotta Have It, a show her son Malcolm worked on behind the scenes. 

In an interview with The Root, Pauletta explained that she was around for her husband long before he became the massive celebrity that everyone knows today and saw her on his arm on all of the red carpet events.

"First of all, Michelle Obama, and any woman behind an influential man, has always been there. Maybe the public, and the media, is now saying we recognize you, but take it from me, I've been on the scene a long time. When Denzel first started, I was right there, but there was no focus on me. But there's been no less presence in his life and in my life than now. As you climb, you grow deeper in the foundation, so it makes our foundation deeper."

In an interview with The Guardian in 2010, Denzel explained that in order to have a successful marriage, you really need to put in the work and have the right foundation.

"There is no secret to the perfect marriage. I have been married 27 years to Pauletta. Everybody has their ups and downs; we've had ours. It's hard work, you know. But we made a commitment. A spiritual foundation helps everything - marriage, work, peace of mind."

In another interview with People, Denzel gushed on all of the things he loves and appreciates about Pauletta. 

"There's too many things! What pops into my head: security, food, a beautiful home. The difference between a house and a home, it's a big difference. You can buy a house, but that doesn't make it a home - and not to say a man can't make a home a home, but my wife has made our house a home, and raised these beautiful kids and protected them and sacrificed for them, she did the heavy-lifting."

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Denzel Washington + Pauletta Washington: Inside Their 37-Year Love Story