The beginning of their love story started when Hanks first saw his future wife as a teenager watching The Brady Bunch which coincidentally was the start of Wilson's career. She played the role of Pat Conway who was a cheerleader running against Marsha for the head of the squad in 1972 episode "Greg's Triangle." Hanks thought she was cute and probably didn't realize that one day their paths would cross.
The first time they met was in 1981 on the set of Hanks sitcom, Bosom Buddies. Wilson was a guest star and the two felt an instant connection. At the time, Hank was married to his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes, so a strong friendship was the beginning for the two actors. A few years later, they would co-star in their first film together, Volunteers.
Their connection couldn't be denied and Hanks ended his first marriage, going public with Wilson in 1986. In 1988 Wilson became a stepmother to Hanks children from his previous relationship, son Colin Hanks and daughter Elizabeth Hanks. Hanks told Oprah that the timing was perfect though because he wouldn't have been ready for their commitment before then.
"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."
Son Chester "Chet" Marlon Hanks was born in 1990, just three years before the couple starred together in Sleepless in Seattle, the role that pretty much changed Hanks life and made him a movie star. The couple starred in the film as siblings, with Hanks starring opposite love interest Meg Ryan.
Hanks explained to Oprah that his relationship with Wilson served him in his Oscar-winning roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.
"I view my wife as my lover, and we have a bond that goes beyond words like wife or girlfriend or mother. For example, I was able to construct a number of things in Philadelphia  because of my relationship with Rita. The way my character felt about his lover is the way I feel about mine. The same was true when I played Forrest Gump, who loved Jenny. Without my connection with Rita, I don't know how I would've been able to connect with what Forrest was going through."
He has always been open about his love for his wife and always made sure to thank her in his Oscar speeches. "I am standing here because the woman I share my life with has taught me and demonstrates for me every day just what love is."
The couple welcomed a second son in 1995, Truman Theodore Hanks. They also co-produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding together in 2002.
When Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had no idea how strong of a support system her husband would be for her. She told ET that the tragedy actually brought them closer.
"You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this," she said. "I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me... who knew it would make you even closer?"
Wilson released her country album Halfway to Home earlier this year. The album featured collaborations with Matraca Berg, Liz Rose, Kristian Bush and more. Wilson addresses her battle with breast cancer on her single "Throw Me a Party."
After years as best friends, countless red carpets, Oscar wins, and a successful defeat of breast cancer, the couple is still stronger than ever. I'm sure we'll be seeing much more of them on the big screen in the years to come.
This article was originally published in September of 2019.
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