The staying power of Hollywood marriages can be as fickle and short lived as the plot of a blockbuster romantic comedy. Bucking the trend however are Viola Davis and Julius Tennon who have been married for 18 years this month.

For this couple, standing the test of time under the glare of fame’s spotlights means getting the basics right.

Viola Davis, the star of the film adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black bottom and her business partner and beau, Julius Tennon are celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary this June, and together are raising an adopted daughter Genesis, while also sharing the running of the production company JuVee Productions.


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A post shared by VIOLA DAVIS (@violadavis)

The couple, who met on the set of CBS series City of Angels in 1999, married four years later and further sealed their commitment with a vow renewal ceremony over Valentine’s weekend in 2016.

By all accounts embody the social media term #CoupleGoals.

To their success Davis told OWN network’s “Black Love” programme that: “…people don’t always marry the every day. They marry the kinda now the kinda wow.  And then it gets to the every single day: the going to bed, the waking up, the getting the groceries, taking out the garbage and loving each other through that…Your marriage doesn’t start when you say ‘I do’.  Your marriage starts when you look over your partner and you wanna kill ‘em!  You’re looking at them for a second and thinking I cannot believe I married this human being they are driving me crazy and then the next minute you say I love them more than anything and I’m sticking with it.” - Viola Davis: Up close and personal
Julius Tennon and Viola Davis at the SAG Awards
Image credit: SAG Awards

The woman who admits to praying specifically for a man fitting her precise specifications (Southern, already has his own children, tall, athletic) also feels it is just as important to be in the right headspace to receive the blessing of love, marriage and commitment.  In a 2012 interview with Oprah Winfrey she confessed she was worried about what she brought to the table when she met Julius, and fretted over not owning property in Los Angeles and having bad credit. “I felt like I had to work to get to the point where I could receive him.” she admitted.


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A post shared by VIOLA DAVIS (@violadavis)

Tennon worked equally hard at reminding his wife that he is ready and willing to help and be emotionally available for her in ways she previously hadn’t experienced because of poor relationship choices.

Much loved and revered, Viola Davis’s career is unmatched. She is the first Black actor to win the triple crown of acting, an Oscar, Emmy and Tony. She also has a best supporting BAFTA award for her role in Fences. Yet, she is famously known to be self-critical, but Tenon is having none of that, often heaping praise on Davis whom he calls an amazing mother.  Tenon has two children from a previous marriage.

Their union is clearly well matched and based on mutual love and respect of each other’s achievements. Long may it continue!

This article was written by Katrina Marshall.

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