Samuel L. Jackson And LaTanya Richardson Jackson’s Timeline Of Their Five-Decade Romance
Culture & Entertainment

Samuel L. Jackson And LaTanya Richardson Jackson’s Timeline Of Their Five-Decade Romance

Legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson's relationship showcases how love can conquer all despite life's adversities.

The couple's union began over 50 years ago when Jackson and Richardson Jackson met in college. Over the years, their love has become an inspiration to many for various reasons. The list includes Jackson and Richardson Jackson's willingness to provide insight into the struggles they have encountered in their partnership and how they resolved it.

Another factor is the personal and professional impact Jackson and Richardson Jackson have had within the entertainment industry with their respective careers in film and Broadway and their contribution to their community.

To date, Jackson has played in over 200 projects consisting of films and television shows. The 74-year-old has reportedly become the "highest-grossing leading actor," according to Statista, with his movies making over $5 billion at the box office.

As for Richardson Jackson, the 73-year-old has been involved in over 60 projects ranging from television shows to films and plays. Richardson Jackson recently directed The Piano Lesson, which Jackson starred in. The Broadway play was nominated for two Tony Awards.

In light of the pair's recent successes, xoNecole takes a look back into Jackson and Richardson Jackson's relationship and how they became one of Hollywood's beloved couples.


Jackson and Richardson Jackson's love story began in 1970 after the pair became an item. At the time, the couple were both college students, with Jackson attending Morehouse College while Richardson studied at Spelman College.

During a cover story with the New York Times, Jackson and Richardson Jackson shared that the duo was seeing other people in the early stages of their relationship. Richardson Jackson explained to the publication that this was due to their various differences.

"Sam was not part of my circle... I was a theater snob, he loved movies," she said.

As the years went by, the couple's bond grew deeper as they participated in numerous projects together as members of the Morehouse Spelman Players.


After ten years of dating, on August 18, 1980, Jackson and Richardson Jackson would officially tie the knot.

Although limited details about the nuptials were released to the public, Jackson revealed during an interview with The Jennifer Hudson Show that Richardson Jackson had 23 bridesmaids, and he was forced to balance the number out by telling his friends to ask people they knew to be his groomsmen. Jackson wrapped up his statement by saying it was the "best-reviewed" production.

In addition to the wedding details, the Shaft star provided insight into how he proposed to Richardson Jackson. Jackson disclosed that Richardson Jackson handed him a stack of wedding invitations and instructed him to attend.

"My story was, I came home one day, and she (LaTanya) already had these invitations printed up, and she gave me a stack and said, 'Be here,'" he stated.

While on the other hand, Richardson Jackson's version of the events of their proposal recalled a completely different story. Jackson added that Richardson Jackson informed him that he had to ask the actress' grandfather for permission to marry her, and following that conversation, he proposed in a formal way.

"She said 'No, that's not what happened... I actually had to go and talk to her grandfather because he'd told her he wanted to walk her down the aisle before he died," he said. "So I went and asked him for her hand or whatever."

Near the end of the segment, Jackson explained that he couldn't recollect the exact details of the proposal because he was on drugs at that time and that his wife could be right about how it all went down.

"That's probably what happened because I was on drugs, and I don't know what the hell was going on at the time," he stated. "So, she's probably right!"


Two years into their marriage, Jackson and Richardson Jackson welcomed their only child, Zoe Jackson, on March 28, 1982.

Over the years, the couple has made it their mission to prioritize their daughter's well-being despite their hectic schedule. In a 2011 interview with The Irish Examiner, Jackson shared that being an active parent was important to him because he saw the negative impact of having an "absentee" father.

"My dad was an absentee dad, so it was always important to me that I was part of my daughter's life, and she deserved two parents, which is part of the rationale behind us staying married for 30 years," he said.

To date, Zoe has made a name for herself within the entertainment industry as a television producer for numerous reality shows, including The Bachelorette, Top Chef, and RuPaul's Drag Race, to name a few.


In 1990, Jackson and Richardson Jackson's marriage began to take a toll as the actor battled drug and alcohol addiction.

In a past interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Jackson disclosed that, at the time, he thought his substance abuse was under control because he could function normally at work and balance his daily responsibilities.

But during the summer of that same year, Richardson Jackson found Jackson lying unconscious on the floor after partying all night with drugs in his hands.

The Pulp Fiction star recalled the incident in a 2019 interview with 60 Minutes. Jackson explained that he brought home cocaine and attempted to cook when he passed out. As Jackson woke up with Richardson Jackson standing over him, they mutually decided he had to get help.

"I bought the cocaine. I went home, cooked it, and woke up, and when I woke up, LaTanya was standing over me. I was passed out on the floor. I never got to smoke it. Next day I was in rehab," he said.

Jackson would attend a rehab facility in New York and complete the program nearly a month later. Following his rehab stint, Jackson landed the role that would catapult his acting career to new heights in Spike Lee's 1991 classic Jungle Fever.

The beloved actor credits his wife for seeing him through it all.

"I credit her because she could've taken Zoe and walked out and been done with me. But she didn't," he stated. "That's a greater love than I would ever know. Cause I don't know if I would've done that."


As Jackson and Richardson Jackson's careers took off with their respective onscreen and Broadway projects, the couple used their celebrity status to create the Samuel L. and LaTanya R. Jackson Foundation in 1999.

According to People magazine, the Samuel L. and LaTanya R. Jackson Foundation "has donated money to educational, arts and health organizations." The publication also reports that Jackson and Richardson Jackson’s other contributions include a $5 million donation to Spelman College.

In addition to their foundation, Richardson Jackson and Jackson use their platforms to bring awareness to social issues.


Over the years, as Jackson and Richardson Jackson continued to succeed in their respective careers, the couple would hit a milestone in 2020, their 40th wedding anniversary.

In August of that same year, Jackson uploaded a present-day photo of the pair and a heartfelt message regarding their love story. In the post, the Glass star explained the reason why the couple's relationship has stood the test of time is that they have constantly supported each other through life and its adversities.

"50 years ago we started dancing, it was all fun & games. 40 years ago today, shit got real! The slow drag of our lives pressed together, I led sometimes, sometimes she did. We finally found that rhythm where there was no leader, we moved as one," he wrote.

"We're still glued together, hip to hip, a holding each other up, not covering as much of the floor, but owning & loving the space that's ours. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY @ltjackson_ Love You for keeping me on my toes & on the beat for 18,250 days. You make my soul sing!! Don't change the tune, we're not done dancing."


A few years later, Richardson Jackson opened up in a joint interview with People magazine and claimed that love wasn't the only factor that helped maintain the couple's relationship.

The Fight Temptations star explained that when she and Jackson first started dating, they made a pact to "stay together" and figure things out regardless of the situation, hoping to change the negative narrative behind the African American household.

"In the beginning, we always said the most revolutionary thing that Black people could do was stay together, raise their children with the nucleus of having a father and a mother, since everybody likes to pretend that that's not the dynamic of the African American family," she said.

"That it's just children out here being raised by women, which we know is false. In order to change that narrative, we made a decision to say, 'We are going to stay together no matter what. We'll figure it out.'"

As Jackson and Richardson Jackson's 43rd wedding anniversary quickly approaches, they have fulfilled their pact of switching the narrative of Black love and have inspired countless others to strive for excellence.

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Feature image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

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