They say you’ll know when “the one” will walk into your life. Viola Davis had no idea when or even if that moment would ever come for her, but the The Help star and 2021 Oscar nominee wanted it to happen — so, she prayed on it.
“I was the loneliest woman in the world, and someone said, ‘You should just pray for a husband,'” the actress told Page Six in 2013. She ended up taking her friend’s advice and told her friend she “wanted a big Black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before.”
Three and a half weeks later, she and her husband, Julius Tennon, first met. Making matters sweeter, Julius checked off many of Viola’s boxes. Julius, an actor himself, was from Austin, Texas. He was a standout football player, earning a full scholarship to play at the University of Tulsa. He also went on to become the first African American to graduate from the school’s theater department. What’s more, he had two sons from a previous marriage, Bustle reports.
According to what Julius shared on the OWN series Black Love, he overheard Viola talking to her friend about not knowing anyone and decided to walk over and give her his card.
On Black Love, the Academy Award winner said she was “ashamed” of having bad credit at the time and put off calling Julius for several weeks. But when they did have their first date, things went well.
“I was terrified, because he told me exactly who he was ― he was absolutely honest about his past,” she said. “And then he brought me home, and he just said, ‘You are a very beautiful and nice woman, and it was a pleasure spending time with you.’ And he shook my hand.”
Not even a half hour later, he called Viola. “I said, ‘You got home already?'” Viola recalled. “He said, ‘No, I’m at the Ralph’s down the street, but I just wanted to tell you again what a great time I had and what a beautiful woman you are.'” Believe it or not, he called yet again with a similar message.
“After my first date with Julius, my life got better,” Viola said. “Every way, anxiety went away, fear went away, he just made my life better.”
The couple tied the knot in 2003 in front of 15 guests in their condo and, later, in front of 100 in Rhode Island, E reports. In 2011, the pair adopted their daughter, Genesis.