The love between Chadwick Boseman and his wife Simone Ledward was so palpable, Denzel Washington says he encouraged the late actor to “put a ring on it.”
Upon the release of the Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Denzel Washington opened up to CBS Sunday Morning about working with Boseman on what would be his last film. He spoke not only of Boseman’s commitment to his craft, but also the love he witnessed between Boseman and his real-life leading lady.
Washington says that while on set for the film, no one knew of Boseman’s colon cancer diagnosis, but that so much of what he saw from the actor now makes sense in retrospect, including the bond Boseman and Ledward had. “Certain members of his team knew. His wife was there. They weren’t even married yet,” Washington said. “And I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him, I said, ‘Man, you know, you need to put a ring on that finger,’ cause she kept her eye on him and she watched him. And I’m like, ‘Man, she loves that guy.’ You know, but I didn’t know what we know now.”
“It’s fascinating that nobody knew,” Washington said of Boseman’s battle with cancer. “Well, credit to him; he kept it to himself. It was nobody’s business. He was there to deliver and he delivered.”
Boseman and Ledward, who reportedly had been dating since 2015, appeared together on many red carpets and at events for Boseman’s films. A statement announcing Boseman’s death revealed that he and Ledward had married sometime before his passing.
While the couple was mostly private about their life together, there were rare moments when Boseman let the world know just how much his wife meant to him. During a March 2019 acceptance speech at the NAACP Image Awards, Boseman gave a special shout out to Ledward, saying, “Simone, you’re with me every day. I have to acknowledge you right now. I love you.” In return, she blew him a kiss and said “I love you” right back.
Last month, Ledward filed a probate case asking a judge to make her an administrator with limited authority of his estate, which is reportedly worth nearly $1 million.