The untold truth of Tom Hanks' ex-wife, Samantha Lewes

Tom Hanks has pretty much solidified himself as one of the top dogs in Hollywood. In 2020, for instance, he was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Fun fact: Hanks also won the Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment," per Variety.  

Although Hanks has enjoyed a wonderful year award-wise, his health is another story. That's because the California native and his wife, Rita Wilson, are currently in Australia in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. The couple has been vocal online about showing gratitude for health care professionals during this global pandemic, with Hanks sharing an Instagram picture of toast with loads of Vegemite slathered on top, followed by the caption, "Thanks to the Helpers. Let's take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx." 

It's pretty easy to get updates on the current life of Hanks and his happy (though currently quarantined) marriage, but there's hardly any information available about his first wife, Samantha Lewes. In case you didn't already know, Lewes is the mother of Tom Hanks' eldest children, Colin and Elizabeth.

Tom Hanks had a college sweetheart

In 1977 when Tom Hanks was 21, the aspiring actor had a baby — aka Colin Hanks — with his college sweetheart, Samantha Lewes (born Susan Dillingham). Four and a half years later, the couple welcomed their daughter, Elizabeth Hanks. The actor told the BBC's Kirsty Young that having children was one of the "greatest things" that could have happened to him, adding, "I didn't smoke pot. I didn't do drugs, I was not a party boy. I didn't drink too much, I went to bed at 10 minutes after 10 p.m." However, Hanks admitted he could have been a better dad back then despite his straight and narrow life, telling The New York Times in 2019, "I start thinking about mistakes I made with my own kids and not explaining things or not being there for them. Or being so preoccupied with other things that are going on in our adult world."

Lewes and the Forrest Gump star got hitched in 1978, shortly after Colin's birth. Hanks later landed a role on the show Bosom Buddies, and Lewes played a waitress on one episode of the show, according to Harper's Bazaar. Interestingly, Rita Wilson also had a part on Bosom Buddies in 1981, but she and Hanks didn't get together for another three years when they both worked on the movie Volunteers

Tom Hanks was "devastated" by Samantha Lewes' death

In 1987, Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes finalized their divorce, per E! News. The decision was difficult for the couple, and Hanks told Express in 2013, "A broken marriage meant I was sentencing my own kids to the sort of feelings I had at their age. I was just too young and insecure for marriage. I was 23 and my son Colin was already 2 when I married for the first time. I was not really ready to take on those responsibilities." Hanks married Rita Wilson on April 30, 1988, and he remembered thinking about the marriage at the time, as he revealed during an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, "I don't think I'm ever going to be lonely anymore."

After her divorce from Hanks, Lewes was diagnosed with bone cancer and died of the illness in 2002. Colin and Elizabeth Hanks' dad was reportedly "devastated by the news," with a supposed source explaining to Britain's Daily Record (via the New York Post), "They've had their ups and downs like any divorced couple but they have remained friends." 

Although this report is upsetting, it's comforting to know Hanks has a wonderful woman by his side to see him through the tough times.

Colin Hanks shed some details of his childhood with Samantha Lewes

Colin Hanks, the oldest child of Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes, gave a revealing look into his childhood during an August 2018 appearance on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast. The chat provided some context surrounding Tom and Samantha's 1987 split, Samantha's life after the divorce, and how Colin truly feels about his dad's second marriage to Rita Wilson.

Colin shared that he was about 8 or 9 when his parents broke up, and he moved to Sacramento, Calif., to be with his mom. He visited Tom in Los Angeles "every other weekend," and during summers, he'd travel to wherever his "old man had a job." The Fargo star explained to Shepard, "It was just a fun sort of getaway. ... I went to summer camp, and we would find stuff to do."

As for life with his mom, Colin noted that Lewes "never remarried" or dated much after Tom. He believes this is partly because she "found God," although who knows for sure. The dad also mentioned how Lewes didn't want her kids to take money for granted, explaining, "I don't know how much money that my mom was getting in alimony, but what I heard all the time was, 'We don't have the money. ... Your dad has that. We don't have that.'"

Tom went on to marry Wilson in 1988, and Colin referred to her as the person his dad was "meant to be with," which seemingly proves there's no bad blood there.