The Truth About Denzel Washington’s Wife – Nicki Swift

There are few A-list marriages that last, let alone survive for a lifetime. Legendary actor Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta Washington tied the knot in June 1983 and are still going strong. From making their marriage work to raising four children together, their union has proven to be one of the strongest in Hollywood. 

Of course, filmgoers are familiar with their eldest son, John David Washington. The Tenet star has been by his father’s side throughout Denzel’s decades-spanning career, and matriarch Pauletta has led the way for John David and his three siblings. But what about Pauletta’s background, and how did she and Denzel first meet? Keep scrolling to find out how the Washington family came to be, and how Denzel credits his relationship with his wife for his success. Plus, Pauletta and her sister’s own acting careers! It seems that the apple doesn’t fall far from the talented Washington family tree. 

Pauletta Washington has an acclaimed acting career

It’s a family affair for the Washingtons! Denzel Washington and wife Pauletta Washington, née Pearson, first met in 1977 on set for TV movie Wilma, per The Sun. They reconnected after running into one another a year later, but it took Denzel three proposals to finally convince Pauletta to marry him. “Since it was three times, that means she turned me down twice,” Washington joked during an Access Hollywood interview. 

The couple has four children together: actor John David Washington, actress Katia Washington, and twins Olivia and Malcolm Washington, who studied filmmaking and acting, per Oprah Magazine. Denzel and Pauletta also renewed their vows in 1995 during a ceremony officiated by Desmond Tutu, according to E! News. 

Pauletta is an accomplished stage and screen actor, appearing in the Academy Award-nominated Philadelphia and Spike Lee’s 2017 Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It. Pauletta opened up to The Root about resuming her career later in life. “When I became an empty nester… I got back on the scene. [But] before I left, my career was very, very active,” Pauletta admitted. Her sister Rita Pearson also works as an executive assistant to Denzel for his films.

Denzel credits Pauletta for their shared success. “You can buy a house, but that doesn’t make it a home… My wife has made our house a home, and raised these beautiful kids, and protected them and sacrificed for them,” he told People. “She did the heavy lifting.” 

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