“He was the anesthesiologist, Dr. Holly, and I was Nurse Lannett,” the Woman King star exclusively told Us Weekly in February 2013, remembering how their characters “were passing blood” on the set. “He knew how lonely I was. I was out in L.A. and I hated it and he said, ‘I’ll show you around Los Angeles. I’ll show you around the Santa Monica pier.’ We’ve been together thirteen years, and from the first day, it was magic!”
While Davis’ romance with the film producer continues to bloom after more than two decades together, the How to Get Away With Murder alum was initially wary to accept a date with Tennon after he offered his phone number.
“I remember telling my therapist at the time, ‘I think he’s nice. He’s really cute. But I don’t know. I’m struggling with this, that and the other,’” Davis recalled to the Los Angeles Times in December 2022 after Tennon teased that she did not call him for six weeks. “They say nostalgia isn’t what happened in the past. It’s a story you tell yourself about what happened in the past. So I’m telling myself, ‘This guy may not even be a nice guy. It’s L.A. It’s this. It’s that. Let me just work on my credit.’ Until my therapist told me, ‘Oh, my God, just call the man, Viola! Call. Him.’ And that’s when I stopped making excuses.”
After the Oscar winner finally accepted Tennon’s invitation, they enjoyed a quiet dinner at the Crocodile Cafe in Santa Monica.
“He drove me home in his Nissan Maxima,” Davis told the Los Angeles Times. “Oh, it was so clean. And he drove me to the front curb and he shook my hand. He said I was beautiful and that he’d had such a beautiful time. And he stayed there until I got to the door of my apartment. He was such a gentleman.”
The pair went on to tie the knot in an intimate ceremony in June 2003.
“The first time we got married with 15 people in our condo. It wasn’t big enough,” Davis explained during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in February 2016. “So, three months later, we went to Rhode Island with about 100 people, and everybody said, ‘You know what? The best photos are candid ones.’ We put disposable cameras on every table, sepia-toned [and] black-and-white [ones]. Honey, those kids stomped the hell out of those cameras. They took pictures of the floor, of teeth — there were a lot of toothless people at the second wedding. That’s another story!”
The JuVee cofounders — who renewed their vows in February 2016 — adopted their first child together, daughter Genesis, in October 2011. Genesis is Davis’ first child and Tennon’s third, as he shares two children from a previous relationship. Since welcoming Genesis, the couple have been candid about raising her to be a strong young woman.
“I want her to honor herself, to love herself, to not compromise, to not stop when she makes a mistake and to understand that’s a part of her growth,” the Widows star gushed to Us of motherhood in February 2018. “[I want her to know that] beauty has very little or nothing to with how she looks.”
Scroll below for Davis and Tennon’s relationship timeline: