Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson reveal how they beat cancer together

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Kayleigh Dray

When Rita Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she had to undergo a double mastectomy. Now, speaking to the Sunday People at a fundraiser for the World Cancer Research Fund, she has 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.”

The 60-year-old actor and writer 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.”

Hanks, meanwhile, 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.”

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.”

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: Rex Pictures


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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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