Tony award, two-time Academy award and three-time Golden Globe award winner, Denzel Washington wears many hats. As an actor, producer and director, he’s a giant in the film industry and boasts a successful career. In speeches where he’s accepted awards and interviews when they ask “how he does it”, the multihyphenate has always thanked and credited his wife.

The two met at the start of his career while on set of a series; both sole actors at the time, she now wears many hats too. Who is the woman to whom Washington attributes his joy and livelihood? Here’s what we know about Pauletta Washington, Denzel Washington’s wife. 

How Did Denzel and Pauletta Meet? 

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Denzel Washington, 69, and Pualtta Washington, 73, met on the set of the film series Wilma where Pauletta played an extra and Denzel the husband of Wilma. Though this was their first meeting, it was once the lights were turned on at the end of a play that the two truly connected.

They were surprised to be seated next to one another and exchanged information after noticing how often their paths had crossed. After three proposals and seven years of dating, they married in 1983. Despite running out of food, their celebration went one without a hitch and landed them at a diner where they enjoyed the rest of their special day. Since then, Pauletta has made their house a home by raising their children, cooking his favorite meals and being the glue to not only their union, but their family of six. 

Who Is Pauletta Washington?

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Pauletta Washington is a Julliard-trained vocalist and pianist which allowed her to fund her first date with Mr. Washington. She began entering piano competitions at the age of 10 before graduating from the schools she attended and undergoing classical training. The artist then got her start in acting on Broadway via Jesus Christ Superstar and Shakespeare’s Cabaret. Her skills inspired her children to pursue the arts and have played major roles throughout her career as an artist. Their son, John David Washington, known for his leading role in the Blackkklansman, joins their daughter, Katia, known for her role in Django and their twins, Malcolm and Olivia on-screen. 

Contributing to and developing film scores came second to family, however, were still achieved. She’s a mother of four all of whom celebrate her as a parent and creative influence. In the midst of wifing and parenting, she also prioritizes philanthropy. 

The Mom-Singer-Pianist-Actor-Philanthropist Wears Many Hats, Too 

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Pauletta sits on the Board of Trustees at Spelman College and is one of the founding and executive members of The Brain Trust of Cedars-Sinai. This group raises money while increasing awareness around research for brain tumors and conditions impacting the central nervous system. She also launched, alongside Denzel, The Pauletta and Denzel Washington Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience which offers undergraduates and graduate-level researchers funds and resources within their fields (through the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center). 

In recent years, Pauletta has returned to the screen as an actress, making an appearance in Spike Lee’s 2017 version of She’s Gotta Have It. She confirms that it was her choice to put her career on hold to support Denzel’s, start and manage their family; a decision she made after learning of her pregnancy while being on Broadway. 

Since then, not only has she been celebrated by her family, but fans of Denzel and the two as a couple in their love and generosity. In 2005, she and Denzel received the BET Humanitarian Award. We continue to wish them career and relationship success!