Coronavirus is the most serious pandemic in generations. The sheer numbers of those infected or otherwise impacted by the deadly virus is tragic and mind-boggling. And because this killer condition can strike whoever whenever, communities all across the globe are doing their best to keep one another safe. As the saying goes: “We’re all in this together.” That means that even our favorite Hollywood stars are feeling its effects – including beloved actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. In fact, amid worldwide panic and fear, the couple took to social media and shocked fans with a powerful message about their health.
The initial announcement came in March 2020, and Hanks has been keeping his fanbase updated ever since. After all, the star has a considerable number of devotees, and they became concerned about him after his decision to speak out. Hanks was also among the earliest A-listers to talk candidly about the coronavirus. Unusually, though, the actor opened up to the world while living temporarily in Australia for his latest movie. You see, he’s starring as Elvis Presley’s infamous manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the biopic Elvis.
Cameras had actually started rolling on Elvis, which features Austin Butler in the lead role and Baz Luhrmann in the director’s chair, in January 2020. However, shooting stopped the day after Hanks’ announcement – and the production was suspended altogether. The movie’s now scheduled to hit U.S. cinemas in late 2021, if all goes according to plan.
It’s probably no surprise that the news about Wilson and Hanks’ health hit fans and moviemakers hard, though. The couple have become very popular both on- and off-screen over the years, after all. In fact, Hanks is widely regarded as one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. Esquire even labeled him “America’s Dad” in 2016.
Hanks has seemingly been part of U.S. pop culture for as long as anyone can remember, too. Many who grew up in the 1980s will have fond memories of his comedic break-out roles in Splash and Big, for instance. The star then continued gathering fans as the male lead in classic romcoms such as Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Yet Hanks has also shown that he can flex considerable acting muscles.
Not content with winning moviegoers’ hearts, then, Hanks also won awards for some of his stellar performances. These include roles as a man living with AIDs in Philadelphia and the famous title part in Forrest Gump. He’s additionally earned the adoration of children as the voice of cowboy doll Sheriff Woody in Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story franchise.
Hanks has even tried his hand behind the camera as the director of That Thing You Do! and Larry Crowne, both of which he also wrote the screenplays for. He directed an episode of the acclaimed TV series Band of Brothers as well. More recently, though, Hanks took on a role that seemed just perfect for him: Fred Rogers in 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
And it was Hanks’ acting career that led to a serendipitous encounter with his future wife, Rita Wilson. You probably know the actress from her film and television roles, too. Just like those of her husband, though, Wilson’s talents are broader than that. Her off-screen work includes treading the Broadway boards in Chicago and writing articles for both HuffPost and Harper’s Bazaar.
Wilson’s also a production heavyweight, and several movies probably wouldn’t have made it to the screen without her. For example, she was a producer on My Big Fat Greek Wedding and both Mamma Mia! and its sequel. Yet it was while working as an actress on a television show that Wilson met Hanks.
Wilson’s first acting role was in an episode of The Brady Bunch in 1972, though. She subsequently picked up more parts, including a role in 1982 on TV sitcom Bosom Buddies – on which she initially met Hanks. And as luck would have it, their paths crossed again just a few years later while filming The Volunteers.
Hanks later told GQ magazine that during their second meeting, both he and Wilson knew they were in love. “Rita and I just looked at each other and – kaboing – that was that,” Hanks recalled. “I asked Rita if it was the real thing for her, and it just couldn’t be denied.”
Wilson also spoke candidly about her love for Hanks in an interview with Piers Morgan in 2012. “I’ll never forget, we were standing on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York, or 58th and 5th,” she said. “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,’” Wilson continued. “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.”
Wilson and Hanks subsequently married in 1988, and they’ve been together ever since. The couple have been generous benefactors to various worthwhile foundations, too. They’re renowned for supporting children’s causes, for example, and the fight against cancer. The pair are also long-term contributors to the AIDS Project Los Angeles, and they help survivors of natural disasters.
The couple’s support for people who experienced the 2018 fire in Mati, Greece, is further proof of this. Consequently, they’ve both earned many accolades for their charity work and, in turn, gained respect from the general public. So fans naturally feared for the couple when they announced that they’d tested positive for coronavirus during their stay in Australia.
It’s assumed that Hanks and Wilson contracted coronavirus during their visit to Australia, at least. But they weren’t the first reported cases down under; those occurred in Victoria back in January 2020. You see, a man visiting Wuhan, China, returned to Australia unknowingly carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus. That’s the illness responsible for COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
And despite Australian airports screening for the virus two days before the man’s arrival, the disease spread quickly. A further three patients traveling from China on that date proved to be carriers as well. Then, in February – just a week later – there were ten confirmed cases of coronavirus and counting. It brought tragedy, too.
March saw the first fatalities due to coronavirus in Australia: an unrelated elderly man and woman. The illness continued to spread, as governments and communities worldwide struggled to contain the virus. And by March 12 coronavirus had reached the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Shortly after that, Hanks and Wilson tested positive themselves.
On 12 March, in fact, the ACT announced its first case – the 142nd in Australia. A man in his 30s hadn’t traveled overseas but did journey outside of the state, it said. On the same day, though, Hanks and Wilson revealed that they’d tested positive and were in isolation.
Questions naturally swirled regarding the couple’s symptoms, and the celebrity family decided to respond. To begin with, the couple’s son Chet Hanks took to Instagram to announce how his parents were doing. This perhaps spoke to the seriousness of the situation. Because Chet usually keeps a low profile, likely due to some controversies in the past.
“Yeah it’s true, my parents got coronavirus,” Chet stated in his March 2020 video. “Crazy. They’re both down in Australia right now because my dad was shooting a movie down there. But I just got off the phone with them. They both are fine. They’re not even that sick; they’re not worried about it.”
“They’re not tripping, but they’re going through the necessary health precautions, obviously,” Chet continued. “But I don’t think it’s anything to be too worried about. I appreciate everyone’s concern and the well-wishes, but I think it’s all going to be all right. But I appreciate it, and everyone stay safe out there. Much love.”
Hanks’ own social media tweet confirmed that he and Wilson were thankfully suffering mild symptoms. “We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches,” he wrote that same day. “Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too.” As a result, they’d undergone testing for coronavirus.
“To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive,” Hanks continued. That, of course, raised the question about how they were going to act to prevent the spread of the illness. And Hanks addressed those issues with his signature easy-going attitude.
“The medical officials have protocols that must be followed,” the actor stated. “We Hanks will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves.”
Hanks was true to his word, too, and self-isolated with his wife in their rented Australian house. But they weren’t out of the spotlight – as their social media feeds prove. In fact, Hanks and Wilson entertained both themselves and their audiences with regular updates. Some contained serious health news, others lighthearted entertainment.
Take the Vegemite fiasco, for instance, which left native Aussies exasperated. It began with a tweet from Hanks thanking the helpers who were assisting him through quarantine. The post even featured a picture of a kangaroo holding an Australian flag beside a plate of Vegemite on toast. However, the photo revealed a faux pas.
The quantity of Vegemite on Hanks’ toast provoked an avalanche of comments about the appropriate amount to spread. “Tom, from a life-long Australian Vegemite connoisseur, you are seriously overdosing on the stuff,” a viewer tweeted. “But hey, if it helps kill that bug, go for it.” Another wrote, “Life is like a tube of Vegemite. Don’t try it all at once.”
The actor took it all in good humor, though. Hanks even reported in a later tweet that he has since “learned not to spread his Vegemite so thick.” He also told his followers, “One week after testing positive, in self-isolation, the symptoms are much the same. No fever, but the blahs.”
In the meantime, Wilson was using her own brand of humor to lighten the self-isolation blues. For instance, she uploaded a video on her Instagram account captioned “Quarantine stir crazy” in which she begins by reading a book. Within seconds, though, she breaks out into an impressively accurate rap along with the music playing in the background.
And shortly afterward, Wilson made another post. In this one, she asked for people to send her recommendations for a self-quarantine playlist – or “quarantunes.” Wilson also did something wonderful for fans: she gave away her cellphone number so they could contact her.
“I’m giving you my phone number,” Wilson wrote. “And yes… It’s actually me. Text me so I can let you know what I’m up to, when I’m in your city (once we can leave our houses), and so we can stay in touch. I mean, not actually touch. Social distancing works.”
Yet despite their lighthearted antics, Hanks also had a serious message, which he shared Twitter. “Hey folks,” he wrote. “Two weeks after our first symptoms, and we feel better. Sheltering in place works like this: you don’t give it to anyone – you don’t get it from anyone. Common sense, no?”
“Going to take a while, but if we take care of each other, help where we can, and give up some comforts… this, too, shall pass,” Hanks continued. “We can figure this out.” It was a touching request for everyone to show simple common sense so that we can stomp out a serious threat. And, in the process, get life back to normal again.
And judging by the responses, some people are taking his message to heart. “We’re not exactly being asked to storm the beaches of Normandy, people,” a tweeter replied. “Stay home and watch Netflix. We can do this.” Another commented, “Can you give a little speech to the world about this? (Asking for everyone.)”
“I just walked upstairs from watching you as Mr. Rogers,” a fan replied. “Thank you for making the movie and [thank you] to the universe for having it front and center right now when we all need to be reminded of how simple heroics can be. Like loving [people] just the way they are, or sheltering in place.”
And self-isolation certainly worked for the Hanks family, as their later social media updates revealed. After the virus had passed safely through their systems, Hanks and Wilson returned to Los Angeles. Upon arriving safely, Hanks then wanted to shout-out to everyone who’d helped them through what had no doubt been a scary experience.
“Hey folks, we’re home now,” Hanks wrote. “And like the rest of America, we carry on with sheltering in place and social distancing. Many, many thanks to everyone in Australia who looked after us. Their care and guidance made it possible to return to the USA.” Then, in true Hanks fashion, he didn’t forget his fans, either.
“And many thanks to all of you who reached out with well wishes,” the actor continued. “Rita and I appreciate it so.” Of course, though, the biggest gratitude should go to the people working flat out to keep us ahead of the coronavirus. Some obvious examples are medical staff and pharmacists.
We also owe a debt to other key workers who are among the unsung heroes of the hour. Everyone putting food on grocery shelves, providing supplies to the general public and keeping things clean during widespread self-isolation, for example. Whether you receive widespread acknowledgment or not, you’re doing a great job and should all be proud of yourselves.
And what else is there to tell about Hanks? Well, it’s fair to say that Tom Hanks is no stranger to winning awards. After all, the Hollywood icon has not only picked up two consecutive Oscars, but he’s also received a Kennedy Center Honor and a Presidential Medal of Freedom during his four-decade-long career. Those are just a few of the star’s many accolades, too. But Hanks certainly doesn’t seem to be blasé about accepting awards if his appearance at the 2020 Golden Globes was anything to go by. It was there, you see, that the actor delivered his most emotional acceptance speech to date – and his words left some in the assembled audience fighting to hold back the tears.
Yet, of course, Hanks is no stranger to collecting gongs at the Golden Globes. He won his first accolade at the ceremony in 1989 for his comedic performance in Big, for instance, while the star’s more dramatic mid-1990s turns in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump were similarly rewarded. And in 2001 Hanks scooped his fourth Best Actor award for his turn in Cast Away.
But while Hanks received yet another Golden Globes nod for his portrayal of Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, on this occasion the star lost out to Brad Pitt in the Best Supporting Actor category. That said, the man who has often been dubbed Hollywood’s nicest guy still got the chance to go up on stage on the night.
Owing to his enduring big-screen success, you see, Hanks was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. This particular accolade is given out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to stars who have had a significant impact on the industry, with previous recipients having included Denzel Washington, Steven Spielberg and Jodie Foster.
So, Hanks was called up on stage by Charlize Theron, whom the star had previously directed in his 1960s-based musical dramedy That Thing You Do!. And the actor could barely hold back the tears as he thanked those who had helped him throughout his career. What’s more, within minutes, many of Hanks’ peers were just as emotional.
It should be noted, though, that Hanks wasn’t the only star in attendance who made headlines for what they said on stage. For instance, Joaquin Phoenix – whose performance in Joker saw him scoop the Best Actor in a Drama award – was one of several big names to speak up about climate change. During his acceptance speech, Phoenix implored those in the crowd to “take responsibility” in turning the fortunes of the planet around.
And while Russell Crowe couldn’t make it to the ceremony to pick up his Best Actor in a Limited Series award for The Loudest Voice, he was still able to get a powerful message out about the bushfires that were devastating his Australian homeland. Reading Crowe’s words, guest presenter Jennifer Aniston announced, “Make no mistake: the tragedy taking place in Australia is climate change-based.”
But alongside all the serious talk, the 2020 Golden Globes also had its more comical moments – with most coming courtesy of Ricky Gervais. Tasked with overseeing proceedings, the Office creator was arguably just as biting as he’d been during his four previous stints as ceremony host.
A former Desperate Housewives star was one of the first to get it in the neck. “I came here in a limo, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman,” Gervais joked. This was, of course, an allusion to the actress’ stint in jail following her involvement in a college bribery scandal.
Gervais also took a potshot at one of Hollywood’s golden boys, who has a reputation for liking much younger women. The host quipped, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere, and by the end his date was too old for him.”
And Gervais also poked fun at political correctness during the ceremony. At one moment, for example, he joked, “We were going to do an ‘in memoriam’ section, but when I saw the list of people who had died this year, it wasn’t diverse enough. It was mostly white people. And I thought, ‘No, not on my watch.’”
Gervais wasn’t the only star in attendance to bring the funny, however. With assistance from his translator, Bong Joon-Ho mocked those averse to foreign-language pictures after he had picked up a gong for his movie Parasite. The South Korean director said, “Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
Brad Pitt also proved that he could be self-deprecating when he appeared on stage alongside his Once Upon a Time in Hollywood co-star DiCaprio to introduce a segment from their film. On that occasion, Pitt quipped, “When I asked Quentin [Tarantino] how he wanted us to play two aging movie guys who were on their way out, he said, ‘Just be yourselves.’”
And Ellen DeGeneres – who was there to pick up the Carol Burnett Award – also had the audience in stitches with her deliberately clichéd speech. The openly gay star – who doesn’t have any children – joked, “I couldn’t have done it without my husband, Mark. Mark, you are my rock. Thank you for supporting me through this crazy journey. I know it wasn’t easy for you or the kids. Rupert and Fiona, go to bed!”
By contrast, some celebrities chose to make more personal statements on stage. For example, Kate McKinnon – who presented DeGeneres with her award – spoke candidly about how she was empowered by the comedienne’s coming out. “[DeGeneres] risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it,” McKinnon said of the talk-show host. “If I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT people on TV.’”
And Michelle Williams also spoke candidly when she picked up a Best Actress in a Limited Series gong for her turn as dancer Gwen Verdon in Fosse/Verdon. Discussing abortion rights, the clearly pregnant star said, “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose – to choose when to have my children and with whom.”
As for the actual awards, though, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was the big winner of the night. Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to 1960s Tinseltown picked up three gongs: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt. Rocketman, Joker and 1917 also received two awards apiece.
In the small-screen categories, though, three very different shows shared top honors. The second series of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag earned two Golden Globes, as did HBO’s media dynasty drama Succession and the nuclear disaster biopic Chernobyl. And yet it was a man who already knew beforehand that he’d clinched an award who made perhaps the biggest impact on the night.
That man was, of course, Tom Hanks. And the beloved actor couldn’t help but break down as he delivered his acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Yes, talking about his family moved the typically calm and collected star to tears.
As many fans know, Hanks has been married to fellow star Rita Wilson since 1988. The pair had been first introduced to each other seven years prior when they both appeared in TV sitcom Bosom Buddies. And during a chat with GQ, Hanks revealed that he instantly felt a connection with the woman who would one day become his wife. He said to the magazine, “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.”
Yet the pair didn’t immediately act on their obvious attraction to each other – not least because Hanks was already married at the time to actress Samantha Lewes. The couple also had a son, Colin, together, and they would go on to welcome daughter Elizabeth into the world in 1982. When Hanks and Wilson once again shared the screen in 1985 comedy Volunteers, however, things had changed.
Indeed, although Hanks and Lewes only officially divorced in 1987, they had actually separated long beforehand. The actor subsequently entered into a relationship with Wilson, with the pair going public at the premiere of The Three Amigos. And then, in 1988, Hanks said “I do” for a second time.
What’s more, in 2001 Hanks opened up about his marriage while talking to Oprah Winfrey. During the conversation, he revealed, “The success of [my and Wilson’s] 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.’”
Hanks added, “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.”
Hanks also became a father for a third time in 1990, when Wilson gave birth to son Chester. And just like his half-brother Colin, Chester has similarly ventured into the acting world – most notably with a small role in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Hanks and Wilson further added to their family unit with the arrival of son Truman in 1995.
Plus, of course, the celebrity pairing have also occasionally made their relationship a professional one. In 1993, for instance, Hanks and Wilson appeared not as husband and wife but as siblings in Nora Ephron’s classic Sleepless in Seattle. Then, almost a decade later, they once again worked together as co-producers of hit rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Hanks and Wilson faced arguably their biggest obstacle in 2015, however, when Wilson was told that she had breast cancer. Thankfully, she has since made a recovery following a double mastectomy. And the actress would go on to tell The New York Times that the support of her husband had helped greatly during her ordeal, revealing, “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… Who knew it would make you even closer?”
It’s little surprise, then, that Hanks chose to pay tribute to his wife of 32 years when he accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2020 Golden Globes. And before the actor was presented with the accolade by Charlize Theron, the Bombshell star had nothing but kind words to say upon taking to the stage.
Theron introduced Hanks by remarking, “While Tom does give us the chance to see ourselves on screen, he also presents a vision of who we could be. He stands for all the qualities we aspire to – both on screen and off. He gives us enough laughter to weather our storms.” Then, as a montage of scenes from movies such as Forrest Gump and Philadelphia played, Hanks made his way to the stage.
And Hanks couldn’t stop himself from making a self-effacing remark about one of the TV shows featured in the run-down. He told the A-list crowd, “Most of the people in this room – I would pay to see them get their cars washed. But how many people in this room have a clip package that includes The Love Boat?”
Hanks also gave a shout-out to those filmmakers who had pushed him to be the best at his craft. He said, “I have never not been challenged or flummoxed or lost sleep because of the work of the directors that I’ve worked with. Every single one of them… Every one of those guys at some point or another came up to me in the course of a day and said, ‘Tomorrow, if you don’t do your job really well, we don’t have a movie.’”
However, things first got really emotional when Hanks started to talk about his personal life. Facing his children and his wife of more than three decades, he declared, “A man is blessed with a family sitting down front like that. A wife who is fantastic in every way, who has taught me what love is. Five kids who are braver and stronger and wiser than their old man.”
“And [there’s] a loving group of people who have put up with me being away months and months and months at a time,” Hanks continued. “Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be standing here if they didn’t have to put up with that. So I can’t tell you how much your love means to me. That’s the wife and kids.”
And Hanks made the star-studded audience’s hearts melt even further when he began to choke up – although he claimed that his tears were down to a touch of the sniffles. The actor quipped, “It’s the cold that is making this happen. I swear to God, I’m not nearly this emotional at home.”
Finally, Hanks concluded his heartfelt speech with yet more words of gratitude, saying, “Thank you all here. Thank you all for all your inspiration and all of your work and all of the struggle that you guys all go through in order to hit the marks and tell the truth. I have checked the gate. The gate is good. Thanks.”
Yet this wasn’t the first time that Hanks had sung his wife’s praises on the Golden Globes stage. The star seemingly couldn’t stop talking about Wilson, in fact, when he accepted his first gong at the ceremony way back in 1989 for hit comedy Big. In that speech, Hanks began by referring to the European heritage of Wilson’s parents.
A gushing Hanks told the A-list celebrity audience, “I married a Greek babe. She was born right here in California, right here in Hollywood, but her folks are great. She’s marvelous, Rita Wilson – thank you, babe, for marrying me. You made my year already, but thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press.”
And when he won the first of his two consecutive Oscars, Hanks once again made sure that he thanked Wilson. In his Best Actor acceptance speech for Philadelphia, he said, “I could not be standing here without that undying love that was just sung about by not Bruce Springsteen, but Neil Young. And I have that in a lover that is so close to fine [that] we should all be able to experience such heaven right here on Earth.”
Hanks was at it again the following year, too. Yes, after receiving the Best Actor Oscar for Forrest Gump, the star gushed once more about Wilson. Hanks told the audience, “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.”
Luckily, though, Wilson seems more than happy for Hanks to continue with his emotional outpourings. Speaking on the 2020 Golden Globes red carpet, the actress said, “I really feel that we have to have these celebrations in our lives. Everybody’s got ups and downs, but when the time comes around and we get to celebrate something – particularly [Tom’s] body of work – I think it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful for Tom, and it’s wonderful for our family.”