Back on December 28, 1954, the world welcomed Denzel Washington. As a baby, Washington grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. He was taught the values of a good Christian from a young age because his father was deeply devout and served as both a Reverend and Pentecostal Minister. Washington’s mother worked as a beautician and also spent much of her time supporting her husband and the church.
While growing up in Mount Vernon, Washington spent a lot of his time in the church. He respected his father and the Word he spoke to the congregation, and he wanted to make the man proud. As Denzel grew up, his faith started to weaken – just like it does for many teenagers and young adults. He began to doubt God and started spending less time in church and more time with “bad” influences around town.
Washington’s parents divorced when he was fourteen years old. He was already at risk of going down the wrong path, but their split made things worse. The young Denzel found himself involved in more fights and getting into more trouble. His performance at school began to deteriorate, and his behavior became unbearable. That’s why his mother enrolled him in the Oakland Military Academy.
During his time at the academy, Washington found God again. When he came back home after his time at the hard-knocks school, a woman told him, “You are going to preach.” Washington took her words as a sort of prophecy, so he enrolled in Fordham University, where he explored studies of medicine and also played on the school basketball team.
Medicine did not fill Washington with passion. He decided to take a semester off school to search for what he really loved in life. That’s when he came upon acting – and found his true calling.
When Denzel Washington came back to Fordham, he changed his major to Arts in Journalism. He soon got cast in the Hollywood Box Office movies “Carbon Copy”, “Crimson Tide”, “Glory”, “The Hurricane.” When he starred in “Training Day,” he would cement his legacy as one of his generation’s best actors by winning the Best Actor Academy Award. Throughout his success, Washington always believed in God.
“There’s never been a time where God didn’t direct, protect, and correct me…. There may have been times where I was less than faithful to Him, but He had faith in me.”
He has also put his religious mind to work for his marriage to Pauletta Pearson. Although they’ve had their ups and downs – every marriage does – they have remained faithfully together for years.
“I think that you have to really work at it. You should not give up on each other,” he said. “It’s a commitment. It’s not all honeymoon. It doesn’t last forever.”
Nevertheless, Washington always puts God first because God will take care of everything else.
“You pray for rain. You got to deal with the mud too,” he said. “That’s a part of it.”
Washington credits his unwavering faith in God and his dedication to reading the Bible to his success in Hollywood over the decades.