Tom Hanks And Rita Wilson Are A Perfect Match, But The Actor's First Marriage Wasn't So Bright

Date March 8, 2019

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are in a picture-perfect marriage. They have two beautiful sons together, and their marital bliss has lasted for more than three decades.


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However, there was another woman in Tom’s life before he met his ideal match.

Who was Tom Hanks’ first wife, and how come their marriage didn’t work?

Before Tom met Rita, he was married to his college sweetheart, Susan Dillingham (known professionally as Samantha Lewes). Tom and Samantha met at Sacramento State University, where they studied acting.


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Their first child, son Colin (who eventually followed in dad’s footsteps), arrived in 1977, when Tom was only 21. He and Samantha tied the knot the following year. It was just the beginning of their careers, and they struggled to make ends meet.


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They welcomed their second child, daughter Elizabeth, in 1982. Tom’s career had started to take off by then, but he wasn’t happy, as his marriage was loveless. Two years later the couple separated, and Tom got together with his Volunteers co-star, Rita Wilson.

Tom and Samantha divorced in 1987, and the actor married Rita the following year.


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Years after his first marriage failed, Tom was asked in one interview why it didn’t work. “We tried to make our marriage work, but we were both too young,” he said.

The exes managed to remain on good terms after their marriage fell apart. So when Tom learned in 2001 that his ex-wife had terminal bone cancer, he was devastated. He arranged appointments with the best doctors in California and paid for Samantha’s care. Sadly, she passed away in 2002.


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Why his marriage with Rita works so well

Tom’s marriage to Samantha wasn’t pointless. It resulted in two beautiful kids, and it also helped the actor grow and learn from past mistakes.

In an interview with Oprah Magazine, Tom said his marriage with Rita has worked so well because he met her at the right time:

The success of our 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." 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.


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Although Tom’s first marriage didn’t work, this one is meant to last!

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