Celebrity

Denzel Washington Shares The Secret To Keeping His 35-Year Marriage Strong

People don't talk about them as much as they talk about celebrity couples like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West or Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, but Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta, have one of the strongest marriages in Hollywood.

The couple, both actors, met in 1977 while they were both working on the set of the televisio show Wilma. They became fast friends, which Denzel later says is key to a successful relationship, before they started dating.

On June 25, 1983, Denzel and Paula said "I do," and they have since been very committed to their "till death do us part" promises. In 1995, they renewed their vows in South Africa in a ceremony officiated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Shutterstock/The Knot News

"I don’t know if it’s show business that has a monopoly on divorce, it’s just that you hear about it,” explained Denzel in an interview a few years ago. "I just think that you have to work at it. Not give up on each other. It’s a commitment. It’s not all the honeymoon, it doesn’t last forever, so you work at it. And hopefully you’re good friends first, that might help!"

The couple, who have four children, John David,33, Katia, 30, twins Olivia and Malcolm, 27, have admitted to going through rough patches over the last 35 years, but they've managed to withstand the test of time.

Both Denzel, 63, and Pauletta have previously opened up about what has kept their marriage from crumbling, and apparently "there's too many things!"

He jokingly said, "I do what I'm told. I keep my mouth shut," before seriously revealing a few of the things that makes their marriage work.

"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."

This isn't the first time that Denzel has opened up about the ways in which Pauletta has done the heavy-lifting for their family.

While on the T.D. Jakes Show, the Equalizer 2 star said his wife "has been the consistent one," when it came to taking care of him and the kids. "She has given the daily religious instruction. She was the one taking them to school, while I was out providing."

He continued, "I grew up in athletics, but my wife’s family had a great education. My wife was a child prodigy. I married up! Her family had a love and a closeness that I didn’t have. I came from a broken home and I said I have to have that."

To People, Denzel had a few more things to say about his wife, especially her cooking skills.

"She has a few [specialties]. I’ve been eating her curry chicken since I’ve known her,” he said. “I used to make it too, but not as good as hers."

But for Pauletta putting in work and good food aren't the only secrets to their happiness, their faith plays a huge role in everything.

"It's all spiritual, it's all based on God," she told The Root in 2016. "I'm limited as a human being, and when you look at certain situations, it's very bleak. Or at least it appears that way, but then I seek spiritual counseling. My inner circle of people are like-minded, so we strengthen each other."

In 2013, the 67-year-old actress spoke to Ebony magazine about the importance of being a rock for her husband whenever he needs it.

"I live with this man. I see the down part. I see the sad part. I see every part. He has and knows he has that stability in me as his wife," she explained. "That’s gives him strength, regardless of if he misuses it. I can’t dwell on that. But I do know that gives him a great platform to go and fly."

Hopefully, more Hollywood couples will borrow some of these tricks so they can end up like Denzel and Pauletta.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.