Desmond Tutu, Denzel and Paulette Washington and the magic of keeping a Hollywood marriage together
We were so pleased to hear that Hollywood movie star Denzil Washington and his actress wife Paulette celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary last week.
And we know that Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be delighted too. For the Nobel Peace Laureate and lifelong crusader for social justice officiated in 1995 when Denzel and Paulette travelled to South Africa to renew their vows.
Denzel got a masterclass in South African politics back in the 1980s when he starred as activist Steve Biko in Richard Attenborough's film of Donald Wood's Cry Freedom.
So congratulations all round. Not only is it a relatively unusual feat among celebrities in general to keep a marriage together over several decades but 36th wedding anniversaries are a truly rare thing in the hills of Hollywood.
So what is about this couple who originally met on a TV set back in 1977 that makes then different? Well, they didn’t rush into anything. According to a TV interview Denzel had to propose marriage three times before Paulette said yes.
But I suspect the truth is that their oh so solid marriage - they have four children - has thrived because they continue to love and respect each other and remain grounded despite all the showbusiness nonsense that comes as a bolt-on extra with their chosen careers.
Of course Desmond Tutu knows a thing or two about having a long and loyal marriage himself. He has been married to his wife Leah for 64 years tomorrow (2nd July) and four years ago they too renewed their vows at a ceremony at St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.
The couple have their own ideas about makes a marriage work. When asked the question on their 60th anniversary they replied: "Laughter".