Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson reveal how they beat cancer together

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 09: Ton Hanks and Rita Wilson attend the 2018 American Friends of Blerancourt Dinner on November 9, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Four years after she learned she had breast cancer, Rita Wilson has revealed what she told her husband about her diagnosis.

When Rita Wilson learned she had breast cancer in 2015, she had to undergo a double mastectomy. Now, in a beautiful new Instagram post, the actress and singer has opened up about what went through her mind shortly after the diagnosis.     

In the post, Wilson recalled how, after doctors delivered the life-changing news, she sat down with her husband Tom Hanks and told him what she wanted to happen should she die.

“Four years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had so many different thoughts,” Wilson, who is now cancer-free, writes. “You’re scared, anxious, you think about your own mortality.”

“So I had a serious discussion with my husband that if anything happens, I wanted him to be super sad for a very long time, and I’d also like a party, a celebration,” she said.

The conversation inspired Wilson to stare down her own mortality and write a song, Throw Me a Party

And the resounding lyrics, co-written by Wilson, Liz Rose and Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, include such beautiful lines as: “So when I’m gone throw me a party/You should dance as if I was there/Don’t be sad or be broken-hearted/Just send your voices up in the air.”

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In a previous interview with the Sunday People at a fundraiser for the World Cancer Research Fund, Wilson shared a positive message to anyone else who finds themselves faced with the same battle.

“When I was going through my diagnoses and surgery, the one thing I really­ wanted to tell people­ is that there are still times when you have love and you smile and you laugh.”

Wilson went on to reveal that it was her husband and fellow Sleepless In Seattle star Tom Hanks who helped her to get through her illness, by tirelessly working to keep her spirits up.

“[Tom and I] watched movies­, we watched great documentaries­, we ate good food and we did our best to maintain­ our spirit and be thankful.”

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Hanks, meanwhile, was the one who, in 2017, announced to the press that his wife is now “100% cancer free”.

Smiling at Wilson, with whom he has been married for 30 years, he continued: “You just clear the decks and you circle the wagons­ and you hunker down. It’s not that hard to do.

“It’s like when there’s a big rainstorm outside, you bust out the hot cocoa and make sure everyone is comfortable.”

Wilson chose to go public with her cancer battle after her test results originally came back as negative.

“I was relieved when the pathology results showed no cancer,” she told People in a statement. “However, a friend who had had breast cancer suggested I get a second opinion on my pathology and my gut told me that was the thing to do.”

She continued: “A different pathologist found invasive lobular carcinoma. His diagnosis of cancer was confirmed by, yet, another pathologist. I share this to educate others that a second opinion is critical to your health.

“You have nothing to lose if both opinions match up for the good, and everything to gain if something that was missed is found, which does happen. Early diagnosis is key.”

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Wilson later added that she would never gave been able to “get it all done” without the support of her husband - and both she and Hanks have stressed the importance of having a support system around you when the worst strikes, 

“No one should go through this alone. That not only goes for the person who is carrying it and in bed for a very long time, but there's also the people who love them,” Hanks explained to ET, before praising Stand Up To Cancer for “stepping up” for cancer patients when they need it most.

Hanks, when asked the secret to his and Wilson’s long-lasting marriage, previously told People that the couple “just like each other”.

The 60-year-old added: “I still can’t believe my wife goes out with me. If we were in high school and I was just funny, I’d never have the courage to talk to her.”

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Hanks went on to explain that he and Wilson rarely experience marital strife, stressing: “They say it must be hard work. No it’s not. Every now and again you know, you gotta get over some stuff but life is one damn thing after another and it’s actually more pleasant to be able to go home with someone you like to spend time with in order to get with it.”

And while Hanks says he doesn’t hold the magic formula to a happy marriage, he does have some advice.

“No one should get married before they’re 30,” he declared.

If you would like more information about breast cancer, or are just looking for some support, please visit the Breast Cancer Care website now.

Images: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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