Tom Hanks on COVID-19, getting back to ‘normal life’

Published July 18, 2020, 11:58 AM

by Janet Nepales

Tom Hanks

Los Angeles — The world was shocked when award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were the first ones in Hollywood to declare in public that they were diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in March while they were in Australia.

When we interviewed Tom recently, he shared with us his pandemic experience, being in isolation, what it felt to have the virus for weeks, how they started quarantining and getting back to “normal life” like doing press for his latest war movie “Greyhound.”

Tom and Rita Wilson (Instagram)

He shared, “With COVID-19 it was actually kind of a bunt. I mean my wife and I were down there, we found what, positive?  What did we win?  And so there are the two phases of it that is like the two phases of any kind of challenge that anybody is going to take. Here are the facts, here’s the reason why you have got to be careful and here’s the reason why it’s very important that you do your part, you take part in the collective. One of the reasons we were isolated for three days, one was of course to keep an eye on our health, our lungs and our breath and our blood levels, our oxygenation, our heart rates, everything, that was one reason the doctors wanted to keep an eye on us.

“The other reason was so that we would not give the COVID-19 virus to anybody else.  So even there, it’s not a double edged sword, but these twin responsibilities….”

How did he keep his sanity and optimism during these challenging times?

“Well, we are all in this together,” he replied.  “Everybody is suffering to a much greater extent than I am. The reality is that this is a great equalizer and that no one is safe. No one is void of where the danger goes, so I wake up every day and consider myself extremely blessed that I have a level of security and safety that other people don’t enjoy, that not a lot of people can count on. 

“So I am on the one hand, I was the canary in the coalmine for some of this, that was then, this is now.  We are once again at the place where there is no guarantee of the immunity from the information that I have read and we are not done with this. We are right smack dab in the middle of this. So I am paying attention to the reality that hey, do your part and my part here is to understand my blessings and where I can help out.  I must say that altruistically, you write some checks to food banks and everything else that is going on you live up to your altruistic responsibilities, and not only do you take part in the collective effort, you also do your part individually.  So I am a lucky man.”

We pointed out how his wife Rita Wilson first had a bout of breast cancer five years ago and then had the coronavirus this year. Now she has discovered her love for rapping. Where did she get her inner strength to face all these challenges?

“From sheer happiness,” Tom revealed.  “She loves this, her artistry, her creative output. I have been saying that her butt kicking renaissance rise is exhausting to me sometimes. She can’t think, except in these joyful terms of what can she do, what can she put out, what can she create?  I am going to say that in the last 10 years or so, her creative output has been like equal to, it’s a combination between Carly Simon and The Beatles by way of this small amount of time. She is always, always creating, and she is doing it out of the best source possible for artistic creation, is joy. She approaches it like that and listen, she is indefatigable. Nothing can stop her. Nothing will stop her. Nothing stops her. So I just stand back and every now and again I carry her lip gloss for her and tell her where she left her phone.”

Scene from ‘Greyhound’

In the war film “Greyhound,” which the actor also wrote the screenplay, Tom portrays the commanding officer of the USS Keeling Commander Ernest Krause.