We appreciate a good love story and Viola Davis and Julius Tennon have a great one.

The power couple got married in June 2003 making their union 18 (going on 19) years long. 

Davis recently spoke about her rare love story on the Oprah + Viola: A Netflix Special Event. The Oscar winner opened up about how she brought about the man of her dreams through the power of prayer. 

Viola says meeting her husband started with a prayer about the man she would like to have and “a big Black man” was at the top of her list. This list came about after a friend told her to pray for the type of man she wanted. 

“He said, ‘Viola, even the vacuous stuff, just put it all in there. Looks, everything,'” she recalls her friend saying. “I said, ‘Really? With God? I gotta tell him that?’ He’s like, ‘Yes. You gotta put it all out there.'”

Viola adds, “I went and I got on my knees.”

With that in mind, The First Lady got specific.

“I said I want a big Black man from the South who’s probably been married before. Has kids, because I don’t want any pressure in that department,” she said. “Someone whose maybe been an actor who understands the artistic community. Someone who goes to church and loves God. I said, ‘If you give me that, I’ll start going to church, God. I really will. I’m committed to it.’ And then I signed off, just like writing a letter.”

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She says she met Tennon three and a half weeks later and he ticked off several boxes—he was from Texas, a former football player (she did want an athlete, too), previously married, a single dad, and an actor. The icing on the cake? He invited Davis to church. 

These days, they share a daughter named Genesis they adopted in 2011 and Davis is a step-parent to Julius’ two children from past relationships. He’s been by her side, her biggest supporter for years. Her thought when the man she prayed for walked into her life? As she told Oprah, “Whoa…”

We just love these two—so much so we’ve gathered photos of them together from their earliest years in the spotlight. Check out how their love story has progressed over the years, below.

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