Viola Davis is known for her impressive (and multiple award-winning) acting skills, but that’s not where her talents end. She’s also great at dishing out some hilariously relatable relationship advice.
Of course, it’s not too surprising considering she and her husband, Julius Tennon, have been together for two decades. According to US Weekly, the pair met in 2000 while sharing a scene on the medical drama City of Angels. They tied the knot three years later, but sparks flew instantly with Davis saying, “From the first day, it was magic.” However, that instant connection isn’t what the actress cites as the source of their long-lasting love.
In an OWN interview, Davis shared the refreshingly honest advice that she once gave to a friend who was about to get married: “Your marriage doesn’t start when you say ‘I do.’ Your marriage starts when you look over at your partner and you want to kill them. You’re looking at them for seconds, or sometimes minutes or longer, and thinking, ‘I cannot believe I married this human being. They are driving me crazy.’”
While that might sound a little ominous, especially coming from the star of a show called How to Get Away with Murder, she quickly added, “And then the next minute, you say, ‘I love them more than anything and I’m sticking with it.’” We’re sure plenty of couples out there can relate to this feeling!
The actress also emphasized how marriage isn’t about the “kind of ‘now,’ kind of ‘wow’” type of love that many people feel early on in a relationship. “It’s the every day,” she said. “The going to bed to waking up, to getting the groceries, taking out the garbage, and loving each other through that.”
That said, there’s no doubt she and her husband certainly enjoy a lot of “wow” in their relationship, too. Take a look below to hear about how sweet Tennon was on their very first date:
Davis also spilled to New York Post back in 2013 that her husband was quite literally the answer to her prayers. “I was the loneliest woman in the world, and someone said, ‘You should just pray for a husband,’” she explained.
So, that’s exactly what she did. “I said I wanted a big black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before.” Davis met Tennon, a tall Oklahoma native with two children from a previous marriage, just three weeks later — and he clearly fit the bill perfectly!
Tennon showers his wife with just as much affection, telling US Weekly, “She’s the sweetest woman. It’s so great to see her be all of who she is. That’s what I love about her.”
Along with his now-adult children, the pair have a daughter, Genesis (9), and Tennon couldn’t help but praise Davis as a great mom, too. “Sometimes she doesn’t think she is, but she’s wonderful,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect and I raised two kids by myself before I met my wife. I was a single father with two children for 17 years, and my wife is doing an amazing job.”
From that first spark of magic to all the “every days” they’ve shared over the past two decades, there’s no denying these two know “how to get away” with a beautifully long-lasting marriage.