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Denzel Washington’s Wife, Pauletta Paid For The Cab on Their First Date


Denzel Washington may have been named PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1996, but he had caught wife Pauletta Washington’s eye long before then.

The Equalizer star met Pauletta (née Pearson) on the set of his first movie, 1977’s Wilma. But it wasn’t until months later, at a mutual friend’s party, that the two actually spoke.

The pair married in 1983 and went on to welcome four children. When it comes to raising their now-adult children, Denzel has given Pauletta a lot of credit.

While accepting the American Film Institute’s life achievement award in 2019, Denzel said he “wouldn’t survive” without his wife’s love and support. “I would not be alive without Pauletta Washington,” he said.

In a 1996 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Pauletta revealed that she met Denzel Washington at a party thrown by a mutual friend from Wilma.

“Denzel and his friends came at the very end of the party,” she recalled. “We spoke again. We were reintroduced. And then next night, I attended a play. And I got there late, so I snuck in and just sat down. I didn’t look at who was around me, and at intermission, the lights came up, and we were sitting next to each other.”

Pauletta added she grew attracted to Denzel over time. “I thought he was cute, but I fell in love with his spirit, really,” she told Winfrey. “That I saw first. And then I thought, ‘Not a bad package,’ you know?”

Pauletta Pearson

In 2017, Denzel recounted his first date with Pauletta during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The actor had planned to pay for a cab on their date, but his plan went slightly awry.


“I was gonna splurge and we were gonna take a cab,” he said. “And the meter’s going, and I’m going, ‘Uh oh … how far away does she live?’ She paid.”

At the 2013 premiere of Denzel’s film 2 Guns, Pauletta told Access Hollywood that he proposed to her three times. Denzel objected, recalling that it was only twice.

“It was three times. I know with age sometimes things [go], the mind,” Pauletta joked.

“You heard it here first,” Denzel said. “She turned me down, she said no. And since it was three times, that means she turned me down twice.”

Denzel and Pauletta got married in June 1983. When Denzel began starring in the TV series St. Elsewhere in 1982, Pauletta took a step back from music and acting to raise their four children.

Pauletta is one of the founding and executive members of The Brain Trust of Cedars-Sinai, a group that raises money and awareness for research into brain tumors and the central nervous system, according to Spelman College. She is also on the board of trustees at Spelman


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