Behind every great man, is an even greater woman. Isn’t that written somewhere?
Well, if it isn’t, then it’s definitely the case with veteran and beloved actor Samuel L. Jackson’s wife, celebrated actress LaTanya Richardson-Jackson.
After all, she was the reason Samuel L. Jackson got and stayed clean and sober in the first place and supported and helped him in more ways than one. The award-winning actress turns 72 this year and has seen and done it all with style.
Her film credits include “Mother and Child,” “Bolden,” “The Fighting Temptations,” “U.S. Marshalls,” and “Losing Isaiah.”
Television credits include “Harry’s Law,” HBO’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” “Boston Public,” and the critically acclaimed “100 Center Street.” Her civic activities include Past trustee of Spelman College; board member at Ebony Repertory Theater, The Urban World Film Festival, and Artists for a New South Africa; advisory board member of The Women’s Center; advisory committee member of Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre Company.
She has received numerous awards for her civic activity from the Atlanta Urban League Guild, the United Negro College Fund, the Broward County Public Library, the National Kidney Foundation, and the Catalog for Giving.
LaTanya was born in Atlanta, Georgia. It was while he was at Morehouse that he met Richardson – who studied at another Black university, Spelman College.
The couple went on to have a daughter, Zoe, now 39. “We’ve been trying to be revolutionary ever since,” he laughs. She’s also the reason for Sam’s health now, including his desire to get tested for prostate cancer.
“Men seem to pay attention to me for some reason,” admits Samuel. “So I got involved with One For The Boys because I thought it was a worthwhile cause to lend that voice. When it comes to cancer, the world is way more pink than blue. Conversations immediately focus on the women’s issues: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, all of those things. But that’s because women deal with it. We’ve been raised in this macho culture where men are strong and resilient and silent.”
“I’m more interested in getting men to talk more openly with each other. Rather than worrying about something alone, men can get checked out as buddies. I had a friend who went with me to a clinic for a full-on physical. We spent 12 hours together. It was cool. I found out things about myself, he found out things about himself, and we talked about it. We started a special diet together and that became a bond in itself. Women do it all the time: you know, let’s do a cleanse, or, let’s go to the spa. Guys should do the same. Men play football together, they work out together, but they don’t do health stuff together and they should.”
The star couple’s long marriage has had numerous effects on both of their overall health. And there’s research to prove it!
Studies show the link between marriage and health is a strong one. A report by HHS says that marriage increases the overall health of the man while reducing the likelihood of becoming hospitalized. Marriage is associated with shorter average hospital stays, fewer doctor visits, and reduced risk of nursing home admission. Limited evidence also suggests that marriage may increase the use of preventive care such as prostate cancer screenings, arthritis medication adherence, healthy eating to reduce heart failure and bowel issues like ulcerative colitis.
Because of its effects on health care use, marriage is also associated with lower health care costs among older adults. For example, studies show that, because marriage reduces the risk of nursing home admission, marriage may also lead to reduced nursing home costs.
Keep up the good work Sam and LaTanya!
LaTanya shared the underlying reason why she initially stopped working was because her and Sam’s connection was so powerful. “We met in a