Rita Wilson: ‘I say a prayer of gratitude every morning’


The actor and singer, 65, on her latest album, her long marriage to Tom Hanks and meeting Princess Di

Hollywood Boulevard was around the corner, growing up. It’s where we went to the shops and movies. It’s not that we were in the Hollywood world – we didn’t know anyone in the business. But being in that special place opened my eyes to the possibilities.

I’m a first-generation American. My dad escaped from communist Bulgaria; my mum is Greek. They were traditional. Dad worked as a bartender, while mum was a homemaker. But from their approaches to life I learned a lot: they had integrity, never felt dissatisfied and were always laughing.

I was only 16 when a Hollywood producer propositioned me, at a call-back for a part in Funny Lady. Mum was waiting outside when a casting director left me alone with him. I was sitting on a couch when he beckoned me closer. Do you have a boyfriend? Are you a virgin? I was shocked. He asked if he could be my first. I was totally disgusted and told him no. I’d heard the stories, but this made it real.

Spend time being still outside every day. Give your mind time to wander. Even if only for five minutes, I try to find a moment to sit in silence outdoors, without my phone or computer. I’m naturally restless – I need that time to breathe and be present.

Marriages are multiple relationships, really, between two people who are always changing. Tom Hanks and I have been married more than 30 years – we’re not the same people as when we first met decades earlier. You have to allow each other to evolve and grow; you need communication and curiosity. Stay interested in your partner, and make sure to really listen.

Princess Diana was truly a star: iconic, kind, funny. I first met her in London at a small Apollo 13 screening. At dinner afterwards I sat on her left, Tom on her right. I was pregnant at the time, and she kept checking I was comfortable. When she got up from the table everyone stared and went silent. It must have been so awkward for her, that happening every time she needed the toilet.

Breast cancer followed by a bilateral mastectomy changed how I think about time. When you don’t know whether you’ll survive, it’s impossible not to consider your mortality and legacy. It taught me that life is finite, and to do things – and be with people – that I love dearly.

I fought to provide privacy for my kids when they were young. They hadn’t chosen to be in this industry. We never took them on red carpets and took legal action to protect them when necessary.

I regret not taking a sabbatical when the kids were young. I wanted us all to take a year off work and live abroad, to immerse ourselves in a different culture, free from day to day responsibilities. We did travel as a family a lot for work, but it’s a shame that never happened.

No is a complete and final answer. For too long I always tried to explain myself. I said no to things before being too easily convinced against my instincts. Be clear with your refusals. There’s no need to justify your decision.

I say a prayer of gratitude first thing in the morning. I take a moment to set out what I’m thankful for – however big or small.

Never stop offering your kids advice, whether or not it’s requested. Mine are grown-up now, but I still try to guide them. Just don’t take it personally if they totally ignore it.

About the author

Add Comment

By Saarah

Get in touch

Content and images available on this website is supplied by contributors. As such we do not hold or accept liability for the content, views or references used. For any complaints please contact babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com. Use of this website signifies your agreement to our terms of use. We do our best to ensure that all information on the Website is accurate. If you find any inaccurate information on the Website please us know by sending an email to babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com and we will correct it, where we agree, as soon as practicable. We do not accept liability for any user-generated or user submitted content – if there are any copyright violations please notify us at babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com – any media used will be removed providing proof of content ownership can be provided. For any DMCA requests under the digital millennium copyright act
Please contact: babumanish.kuwar@gmail.com with the subject DMCA Request.