Married for Almost 40 Years After Being Rejected Twice by His Wife, Denzel Washington’s Story Shows What True Perseverance Is All About

2 years ago

They’ve been together for nearly 4 decades — Denzel and Pauletta Washington, one of Hollywood’s most solid couples, will celebrate 39 years together this year and are on the verge of their ruby wedding anniversary. It is also to their credit that they have stood firm in the face of the challenges that fame can bring. But not only that, the value of this relationship was clear from the beginning, as Pauletta did not make it easy for Denzel, who knew how to persevere.

At Bright Side, we love romantic stories, even more so if they involve succeeding in things such as meeting your significant other. That’s why we want to share Denzel and Pauletta Washington’s story, one that proves how being persistent can make love last.

Firm, proud, confident, and committed — this is how we can see the partnership formed by Pauletta and Denzel Washington, who are about to celebrate spending 4 decades together next year. Their relationship was not easy at the beginning, and it hasn’t been over the years, as both agree that their strength lies in their principles and work. As Denzel put it, “I just think you have to work at it. Don’t give up on each other. It’s a commitment.”

Pauletta and Denzel met in the late 1970s on the set of the TV movie, Wilma. After that, they started dating. Pauletta told Oprah some fun facts about the beginning of their relationship: “A mutual friend, who was also in the movie, had thrown a party. And Denzel and his friends arrived at the end of it. We talked again.”

What would happen next, however, was even more extraordinary. “The night after, I attended a play. I arrived late, snuck in, and sat down,” Pauletta explained. “I didn’t look who was around me. Then, at intermission, the lights came on and we were sitting next to each other.”

Denzel also has his anecdotes about this, which they often joke about when they recall the time. He said that on their first date, Pauletta had to pay for the cab because he didn’t have enough money to cover the entire fair.

You’d think that anybody would say “yes” if a guy like Denzel Washington asked to marry them, but that’s what proves how Pauletta Washington is different. The same goes for the acclaimed actor, as not just any man would continue to insist after a negative response to a marriage proposal.

The couple often jokes about it. Pauletta said, “I turned you down twice, and the third time we did it.” However, the 2 succeeded in proving to each other that their relationship would be worthwhile by confirming their bond on the third attempt on June 25, 1983.

Denzel did not have a rosy family background. He said that while his parents instilled good values in him, they divorced when he was 14. When he met Pauletta, he realized he loved her: “Her family had a love and closeness that I didn’t have. I came from a broken home, and I said I had to have that.”

Hollywood is not usually a fitting place for successful couples. Media pressure, followers, and hectic social lives, among other aspects, can pose great challenges to a stable relationship. However, this couple has been able to successfully overcome these challenges. In this regard, Pauletta has shown admirable faith and confidence, as she “does not allow other women or rumors to distract her from her marriage.”

The Malcolm X star never misses an opportunity to acknowledge his wife and say that it’s thanks to her support that he has achieved his success. In 2019, at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Awards, a celebration in which he was honored, he mentioned his wife in his “Thank You” speech: “40 years of sacrifice. 40 years of forgiveness. She taught me about faith, spirituality, love, real love, unwavering love, in spite of myself.”

Pauletta is a classically trained pianist. She has been an outstanding actress in theater and film and participated in acclaimed productions, such as Philadelphia (1993), which won numerous awards. When Denzel speaks of sacrifice, he does so because Pauletta put aside her professional career to devote herself to her home. Despite this, now that her children are older, she has returned to acting.

This same respect and, undoubtedly, all the principles and values that characterize the couple are reflected in their children. About her, John David said, “I love my mother. The fact that she sacrificed so much to raise 4 children, and as she has gotten back into acting, I am so proud. Everything she does...pushes me to be the best.”

The couple maintains a lively sense of humor. When Denzel was asked what the secret to a lasting marriage was, he replied, “I do as I’m told. I keep my mouth shut.” However, with a little more seriousness, he said, “There is no secret to the perfect marriage. 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.”

These days, Denzel Washington has good reason to celebrate, as he has been nominated for the 2022 Oscars, completing 10 nominations throughout his career. This, in itself, is already a triumph, as he has gone down in history as the African-American artist who has been nominated for Best Actor the most times. Although, for him, his greatest success has been with his family.

What love story do you know of where someone in the couple had to insist that the 2 of them being together was the best decision?


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