Denzel Washington might be one of the biggest Hollywood stars, but he gave his mother a tough time growing up. All his friends ended up in jail, and his mother saved him by taking him to a private school in New York. He turned out to be a man with a big heart and extended acts of kindness to anyone in need.
Denzel Washington is one of those actors that need no introduction. His awards and record-breaking movies speak for themselves.
But his accolades and success did not come easy. A very strict and hard-working mother raised Washington. His father was also a hard worker; he was a pastor and had two churches, while his mother owned a beauty salon.
Denzel Washington in New York 2016. | Source: Getty Images
Unfortunately, the actor’s parents grew apart and divorced when he was 14 years old, and Washington and his siblings were left to be raised by their mother, Lennis.
However, out of the three children his parents had, Washington admitted that he was the one that gave his mother the hardest time.
After his parents’ divorce, Washington rebelled and started getting involved with the wrong crowd. He confessed that one of his friends was dead, one served 28 years in jail, the other 20, and another spent 12 years inside
Denzel Washington with his mother Lennis and his wife Pauletta at the 62nd Annual Academy Awards in 1990. | Source: Getty Images
When his mother realized her son’s scary trajectory, she moved him from Oklahoma and sent him to a private school in upstate New York.
This is where Washington turned a new leaf in life, but things were not always smooth sailing. The actor revealed that he would still get into so much trouble that he would be sent home, but his mother sent him back until he got his act right.
He thrived in sports and was part of a band. This was when Washington discovered his love for arts and performance. But he does not believe he would have had those achievements without the support of his beloved mother.
Denzel Washington in Toronto in 2003. | Source: Getty Images
Washington said he was what they called “throwing rocks at the penitentiary,” but he never hit. The “Man on Fire” star never forgets his mother’s words, “Son, you never know who is praying for you,” because it is a miracle to him that he did not end up behind bars like his friends.
When the actor is asked what advice he would give his 15-year-old self, he often laughs in disbelief and says, “listen to your mother!” because, without her, he does not know if he would have the comfortable life he has currently.
A Special Mother and Son Bond
Washington lost his mother in 2021 when she was 97 years old. When he visited “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the host consoled the actor for his loss.
Danzel Washington in Los Angeles in 2017. | Source: Getty Images
He appreciated that he and his siblings got to have that much time with their mother alive. While discussing a mother’s love, Colbert reminded Washington of one of his quotes “A mother is a son’s, first love.”
Washington added to that and said, “a son, especially that first son, is a mother’s, last true love.” This was after Colbert asked the actor how he continues to honor his mother and the love that she gave her children.
The actor said he realized how his wife Pauletta is extremely soft regarding their eldest son John David Washington. “He can do no wrong,” said Washington.
Danzel Washington with his wife Pauletta in New York 2016. | Source: Getty Images
However, Washington could not finish speaking about a mother’s love without choking up. He even said he was surprised at his stream of tears because he did not cry at his mother’s funeral. But the actor reminded the audience to hug their loved ones while they still lived.
Washington credits his mother for teaching him the importance of family. He has been married to his wife Pauletta since 1983, and they have four children, John, Katia, Malcolm, and Olivia. The actor is extremely proud of his strong-willed wife. He said she is a Christian who has instilled prayers and the bible in all their children.
When asked what keeps a marriage strong, the actor said, “lots of prayers.” Pauletta is the rock of the Washington family and the reason behind their close-knit brood.
Denzel Washington at the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills with his family in 2016. | Source: Getty Images
Washington said there was nothing better than rushing home after work to watch his son’s games and spend time with his family. “Family is life. Acting is not life to me. It’s making a living,” said the actor.
The humility that Washington embraces is another part of him for which he credits his mother. He recalled early in his career when he was just rising to fame.
“The Equalizer” star said he went home to show his popularity, and his mother put him right back into his place and reminded him again that he did not know whose prayers got him to where he was. Then told him to wash the windows.
Denzel Washington with his wife Pauletta in Hollywood in 2016. | Source; Getty Images
Even when he was older and successful, Lennis still told Washington to dig deeper into himself to lead a good life, and that’s when the actor decided to stop drinking.
Denzel Washington Saved a Man’s Life
Washington praises his mother for raising him to be a kind man and shows through his actions that he has a big heart. As the actor was driving in West Hollywood, he noticed a homeless man in the middle of a busy street.
Washington did not even think twice; he parked on the side of the road and risked his life to save another. Despite how difficult it was for him to maneuver through a busy street full of cars, the actor managed to get the man off the road safely.
Denzel Washington in New York 2017. | Source: Getty Images
But he did not stop there; Washington called the police and waited with the man. The police detained him without any reason, and the actor stayed with him and helped give the cops a statement.
Washington was by his side, comforting him throughout his questioning. He even gave the man a sandwich and a face mask to protect him from the coronavirus