He’s the man. He’s who many men have aspired to be and who many women aspire to be with. Denzel Washington has often been fawned after by women for years. PEOPLE Magazine labeled him “The Sexiest Man Alive” in 1996, placing him on their cover and making him the first African-American and person of color to be given that honor.
But Denzel Washington is taken. The actor has been married to Pauletta Pearson Washington since June 25, 1983. Ever since meeting on the set of the 1975 television biopic Wilma, she’d been the apple of the actor’s eye. While they didn’t begin dating then, they continued to have chance meetings. A year after meeting his future wife on the set, Denzel Washington saw her at a party and then shortly afterward at a play.
The two began to date, and Denzel Washington revealed that he was insistent on making her his wife. However, the Tragedy of Macbeth actor claimed during a past interview on Live Kelly and Ryan that he could not recall how he proposed successfully to Pauletta because she continually turned him down. Eventually, Washington was able to win his now-wife over.
The love story between Denzel Washington and Pauletta Washington is a beautiful one. Washington has openly praised his wife for being his strong backbone and support system throughout his career. Their marriage has also faced seemingly unfounded rumors of infidelity. Yet, through it all and four children later, the couple has come through unscathed and remain together. In a 2010 interview with The Guardian, Washington admitted that their marriage had seen its share of vicissitudes, but they are committed to making it work. The actor often credits his strong “spiritual foundation” for their marriage’s survival.
While on the TD Jakes Show, Denzel Washington expressed why marrying Pauletta Washington was his most significant decision. Washingon credits his wife for being “consistent” and doing most of the “heavy lifting” in the marriage. “I married up,” he said.
In 2019, Denzel Washington was awarded the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, the actor emotionally and profoundly dedicated it to the “most important person” in his life, referring to his wife. “She taught me about faith, spirituality, love, real love,” the acclaimed actor said.” Then, Washington beautifully declared that he “would not be alive without Pauletta Washington.”
Similarly, Pauletta Washington has spoken about her marriage to the actor and what it takes to be with an influential man such as him. Speaking with The Root in 2016, she stated that women such as herself have been around for years. And while the focus has always centered around her husband, Mrs. Washington’s presence was never “lessened” in his life. She also credits seeking spiritual counsel and her “like-minded inner circle” for giving her strength.
But what is it like being married to a man, who Variety describes as an “ageless sex symbol?” Well, Pauletta Washington is very much aware of who she is married to. “He’s a sex symbol,” she once told Ebony. In the same interview, Washington shared her many experiences of women who “push” and “run me over to get to him. That part is not so cute,” she admitted. But Washington explained that her husband both “has and knows” the “stability” that he has in her as his wife. “That gives him strength, regardless of if he misuses it,” said Pauletta Washington.
And if you think she’s not confident, a 1996 interview with Oprah Winfrey would show you otherwise. Winfrey once told Pauletta Washington that women are after her husband. However, the response from Denzel’s wife was nothing short of classic. “You know what? They’ve got great taste,” she said, nodding her head and laughing. But, of course, she’s had her share of bold women that attempt to threaten their marriage and go after her husband.
“You know, what are you going to say? They see something good and um,” Pauletta Washington adds. But their bold attempts do not phase her. Do you know why? “He’s coming home,” she said to Oprah. Confidently at that. Even Denzel Washington was left speechless while she slapped five in agreement with Winfrey. We love to see it!