Viola Davis had been struggling while living in LA when Julius heard her and gave her his card.
Not all prayers come true, but Viola Davis' prayer for her perfect man did come true. While the talented actress achieved mainstream success with her breakout role in crime drama, How to Get Away with Murder, she had been critically acclaimed for her work in the past. But despite the many accolades that came her way, the fulfillment that comes with finding true love was still missing in Davis's life.
"I was the loneliest woman in the world, and someone said, 'You should just pray for a husband,'" she revealed to Page Six in February 2013. So, she prayed for her ideal man. "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 . . . 3 1/2 weeks later I met my husband," she said.
The 55-year-old actress, who was born on her grandmother's South Carolina farm, went on to say that he also had to be "emotionally available, someone who was older, someone who maybe had a family before," she told Essence months later, according to E! News. She definitely wanted "someone from South. Someone who loves God more than he loves himself."
And well, the actress did find her ideal man, after all. Davis married Julius Tennon in 2003, and they have a daughter, Genesis, 10, whom they adopted together.
The actress met Tennon on the set of the medical drama City of Angels, who was about 12 years older than her. Growing up in Travis County, Texas, Tennon, much like Davis's description of an ideal man, had played football at the University of Tulsa, according to E! News. It's like he was made for her.
Tennon had shared on the OWN series Black Love, that he heard Davis talking to her friend about not knowing anyone. So, he walked up to her and give her his card. She didn't call him up for many weeks because she was struggling with living in Los Angeles, but finally they had their first date at a church, and it went really well, according to Good Housekeeping.
"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," she said.
Less than 30 minutes later, he called her. "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.'" He wanted her to know exactly how much he liked her and called again.
"After my first date with Julius, my life got better," she said. "Every way, anxiety went away, fear went away, he just made my life better," added the mom-of-one.
The couple tied the knot in a small wedding with just about 15 guests in their home, and later had a bigger ceremony in Rhode Island, E! News reported. In 2011, they adopted their daughter, Genesis. After almost 18 years together, and despite the ups and downs that long-term relationships have, the couple is still going strong.
In 2017, Davis gushed about her husband in a sweet tribute to him on social media. "You have made my life sweeter and my heart bigger," she wrote. "I prayed for you and God said,'Yes! I have just the right person for you!!!!' Happy Anniversary my love... The best is yet to be."
On their 16th wedding anniversary in 2019, Davis again declared to the world how much he meant to her. "June 23rd, 2003 is when I married the greatest man!!! Thanks for loving me despite my bad credit! Look at how our life has grown. Love, love, love you Julius… with all my [heart]," she said.
When she was asked about the secret to her successful marriage, the Oscar-winning actress told People, "It’s about the everyday. I think that, that’s what people forget when they fall in love with someone and it’s exciting. You have to get back to the everyday – the taking the garbage out, the cooking, the cleaning – and it’s something that I think really works with me and my husband."
Cover images source: Getty Images | Photo by (L) Frazer Harrison (R) Matt Winkelmeyer