Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson's Relationship Has Fought Off Health Scares & Pushy Fans

The A-list couple has been married for over 30 years — and they’re only getting stronger with time.

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We’ve seen Tom Hanks in countless timeless love stories on screen, but off-screen, his love story with Rita Wilson is even better.

With 35 years of marriage under their belts, this A-list Hollywood couple has been through plenty of ups and downs — but their relationship has only gotten stronger with time. After meeting on set in 1981, Hanks and Wilson instantly hit it off, but as Hanks was married to his childhood sweetheart at the time, it wasn’t until 1984 that their friendship became romantic.

Hanks and Wilson tied the knot in 1988 and haven’t looked back since. Together, they’ve been both professional and personal partners. They’ve acted alongside each other, produced films together, raised two sons and helped each other through illness.

Throughout it all, the loving couple have been joined at the hip, from on the set of major productions, to spending time together during lockdown.

Want to delve deeper into this adorable couple? Read on for a complete timeline of the three decade love story between Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson that rivals any Hollywood romance.

1981: Tom & Rita Meet On Bosom Buddies Set

If you don’t believe in love at first sight, Hanks and Wilson might make you think again.

The pair first met in 1981 on the set of the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies in which the pair played lovers having a brief fling and by the sounds of things, they became bosom buddies pretty quickly.

“We just got along instantly,” Wilson said during an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “First of all, I love a good storyteller. So anybody who can tell a good story, I’m down with that.”

Apparently, the pair first bonded over a mutual love of conversation and food. “Talking and food, that was pretty much our whole existence,” she said. “I love that. He makes me laugh all the time. He’s a really good storyteller.”

But Hanks and Wilson couldn’t pursue a romance —Hanks was already married to his childhood sweetheart, Samantha Lewes.

1984: Reuniting On The Set Of Volunteers

Hanks and Wilson crossed paths again as co-stars in Volunteers. This time, the connection was too strong to ignore.

“Rita and I just looked at each other and — kaboing — that was that,” Hanks told GQ. “I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn’t be denied.” At the time, Hanks and Lewes were drifting apart, leaving room for Hanks and Wilson to begin to build their relationship.

December 1986: Going Public

After Hanks and Lewes announced their plans to separate, he and Wilson went public with their romance when they appeared together at the premiere of Three Amigos.

April 1988: Tying The Knot

In April 1988, Hanks and Wilson tied the knot.

From the moment Wilson walked down the aisle, Hanks was committed to compromising for the sake of the relationship.

"When I married Rita, I thought, 'This is going to require some change on my part,’” the actor told Oprah Winfrey.

He added, "Honestly, I married into a classic old-world family structure in which people like to spend time with each other and construct their lives so they can... And you know what? In the 13 years Rita and I have been married, I've discovered there's no substitute for that. There's such an advantage to being involved in the day-to-day details of each other's lives. It's a marvelous fabric to exist in."

January 1989: Hanks Makes A Touching Speech

When Hanks the Golden Globe for his role in Big in 1989, he was quick to thank his new wife for her support.

“I married a Greek babe, so I know what it means to have affection for foreigners... thank you babe for marrying me, you made my year already,” the actor gushed.

August 1990: Hanks & Wilson Welcome Chet

In August 1990, Wilson gave birth to her first child with Hanks, a son named Chet. Today, Chet is an actor, musician and a father to one daughter.

1993: Sleepless in Seattle Co-Stars

In 1993, Wilson and Hanks appeared together on screen again in Nora Ephron’s romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle. Hanks played the romantic lead opposite Meg Ryan, while Wilson played his best friend, Suzy.

As Wilson explained to Entertainment Weekly, she initially got the role thanks to her husband — but she had initially wanted to play Ryan’s best friend. “I saw When Harry Met Sally and This is Your Life, and I saw that Nora wrote women really, really well,” Wilson said. “I loved that she cast Carrie Fisher in those really vocal, fun roles. When Tom was offered the script for Sleepless in Seattle, I read it and I fell in love with the character that Rosie O’Donnell played in the movie. I ran into [Ephron] at a party at [producer] Linda Obst’s house, and I said, ‘Nora if you don’t cast Carrie Fisher in that role, I would love to audition for you.’”

Wilson also explained that she improvised her famous monologue about An Affair to Remember, Hanks went on to improvise the rest of the scene. Clearly, these two work well together on and off the screen.

March 1994: A Heartfelt Oscars Speech

In 1994, Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia. In his speech, Hanks thanked his wife for her support. “Here’s what I know. I could not be standing here without that undying love... I have that in a lover that is so close to fine we should all be able to experience such heaven right here on earth.”

As Hanks later told Oprah, he credited his relationship with Wilson for his ability to portray great love stories such as the one in Philadelphia.

“I view my wife as my lover, and we have a bond that goes beyond words like wife or girlfriend or mother,' he said. “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.”

March 1995: ...And Another One

When Hanks won a second Oscar in 1995 for Forrest Gump, he once again gushed about his wife in his speech.

“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,” he said.

December 1995: A Second Son

In 1995, Hanks and Wilson welcomed their second son, Truman Theodore.

As Hanks later told Oprah, he and Wilson strove to raise their sons away from the spotlight. “The challenge now is how Rita and I will rear our children, who do have everything,” the actor said. “All that most parents hope is that their children are happy, funny, well adjusted, and have a passion for something in their lives.”

2002: My Big Fat Greek Wedding Producers

In 2002, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson teamed up once again to co-produce the Greek rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding. After Wilson saw the play, she sent Hanks to see it, too. The pair both loved it, so they worked together to bring it to the screen.

May 2012: “A Wave Of Love”

In 2012, Wilson opened up about the nature of her ongoing love for Hanks.

“I’ll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th,” Wilson recalled on Piers Morgan Tonight. “We were holding hands, and we were waiting for the traffic light to change. And he looked at me and he said, ‘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.’ 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.”

April 2015: A Breast Cancer Scare

In 2015, Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma,” the actress told People at the time. “I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery.”

Later, Wilson reflected on how important Hanks’s support had been. “Who knew it would make you even closer?,” she told The Mirror. “You never know how your spouse is going to react in a situation like this. I was so amazed, so blown away by the care my husband gave me. It was such a normal, intimate time.”

As Wilson once said, she approached her illness with her typical good humor. “I said, ‘I want you to be sad for a really long time.’ And then I said, ‘I want you all to throw me a party.’”

October 2016: Traveling For Work

Over the years, Hanks and Wilson have joined each other on numerous work trips. For instance, Hanks once told Today that Wilson came with him while he filmed movies like Cast Away and Cloud Atlas.

"We have so much fun,” Wilson told E! Online in 2016. “Being on location is one of the greatest things. We've gone all over the world. We've taken our family. We've gotten to live in cities that you normally wouldn't get to live in and become a normal person and going to the market and finding your favorite coffee store and shop. Just pretending that you're a local and that's really great. You don't feel rushed."

"All that it requires is that I have to get up at 4:45 in the morning," Hanks added with a laugh. "I work!"

Novebmer 2016: The Secret To Marriage

Later that year, Hanks opened up about how he and Wilson had managed to make their relationship work for three whole decades while accepting the trailblazer award at the Outfest Legacy Awards.

The secret to a long marriage? According to Hanks, there isn’t one. “I wish there was a secret, you know,” he said. “We just like each other. You start there.”

He later added, “They say it must be hard work. No it’s not.” While he admitted that the pair did have their little problems, he preferred to simply enjoy her company. “Life is one damn thing after another and its actually more pleasant to be able to go home with someone you like to spend time with in order to get with it,” he said.

March 2019: Celebrating Wilson’s Work

In March 2019, Wilson was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Naturally, her husband was there to share some words about her. She has “a highlight reel that any of us would envy,” he gushed, before describing her “wicked sharp” instincts and “pitch perfect taste.”

It’s clear that when it comes to Rita Wilson, Hanks isn’t just a loving partner — he’s also a huge fan.

Later, Wilson spoke to US Weekly about her marriage. “We got married, we committed to each other, we love each other and we work hard at our relationship,” she said simply. “Not only do we love each other, we really like each other, and we like being together, and we support each other and we keep the communication channels open. That’s always important.”

December 2019: Becoming Greek Citizens

Despite Wilson’s Greek heritage, it wasn’t until 2019 that she and her husband became Greek citizens. As the BBC reported, the couple were granted honorary citizenship after helping to raise awareness about a wildfire in a small Greek village in 2018.

March: COVID Diagnosis

In March 2020, both Hanks and Wilson contracted the virus while in Australia for work. “We both had a high fever and were extremely achey,” Wilson later told The Guardian. “I lost my sense of taste and smell, had stomach issues and shivering like you wouldn’t believe. Yeah, I was scared.”

However, despite the fear and physical symptoms, the pair made it through by supporting each other.

“I think that having the virus at the same time made it that little bit easier,” she explained. “We were taking care of each other instead of having the pressure of taking care of one person and no one taking care of you or understanding that the person at home needs a break. We were fortunate we were in a place where we understood what the other was going through.”

June 2022: A Scary Encounter With A Fan

While Hanks has the reputation of being America’s Dad and Hollywood’s “nice guy,” he takes his wife’s safety extremely seriously — and who can blame him?

In June 2022, an encounter with a group of fans became tense when the eager crowd bumped into Wilson and almost knocked her over.

“Woah, woah, woah — back the f*** off!” Hanks yelled at the crowd. “Knocking over my wife!”

After more than three decades of marriage, it’s clear that Hanks and Wilson will always have each other’s backs.