For years we've seen Bassett (a Golden Globe-winner) and Vance (who has a Tony and won an Emmy for playing Johnnie Cochran in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson) dominate the red carpet. No matter the year, the couple's love and ageless good looks shine through. If like us, you've always wondered how Vance, 59, and Bassett, 60, came to be, we've taken a look back at their 22-year marriage.
Angela Bassett and her husband Courtney B. Vance met at the Yale School of Drama.
Both attended the elite drama school in the 1980s, with Vance (a Harvard undergrad) earning his M.F.A. and Bassett earning a B.A. in Afro-American studies and an M.F.A. in drama, according to Essence.
But despite being in the perfect place to start an ivy league romance, neither experienced anything close to love at first site. Vance was in a relationship at the time, and as he said in a 2007 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, "I don't remember her at all, really." Yes, he said this about the Angela Bassett.
They remained friends for years, but it didn't become romantic for over a decade. "He had a beautiful, beautiful girlfriend at the time, who was also in drama school with us,” Bassett told People magazine. “So maybe about 14 years later, our paths crossed here in Los Angeles. And I was single, he was single. And I had such an appreciation for him over those years—of his consistency, how he treated other people, of what a supporter he is, what a connector of people and ideas he is, how passionate he is.”
Angela and Courtney's first date "wasn't memorable."
The pair went on their first date in 1994, but as they hilariously recalled on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the day didn't make much of an impression on either of them.
"Dare I say it wasn't memorable," Basset said. "He just seemed like a really, really nice guy. Which translated to kind of boring. That was it. Wasn't gonna give him a second thought."
But with that blunt admission, there were no hard feelings on Vance's end. "I think that was because it was not a good date," he deadpanned.
Somehow, they ended up having a second date when they went golfing. It was then that the relationship finally evolved. "We had a great time. I said 'I like her.' Something was happening," Vance recalled.
Now, they've been married since 2007 and they're one of the exemplary examples of Black love in Hollywood.
Catch the A-listers recount their romance to Oprah in the video above.
The two have 13-year-old twins.
After struggling to conceive and seven years of IVF, the couple welcomed twins Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah in January 2006 via surrogate. At the time, the actress told People that after seeing a friend choose surrogacy, she and her husband "began to think that perhaps this was an answer for us."
Most recently, Bassett opened up to Closer about her children. "My greatest accomplishments are my family and my kids. Seeing them grow up beautifully and respectfully is an amazing thing to watch. They are delightful individuals, and they make me so proud."
Angela and Courtney wrote a book together.
In 2007, they co-wrote Friends: A Love Story. The husband and wife opened up about their union, and how they managed to go from great friends to each other's life-long partners.
"See how they've carved a meaningful life together in spite of humble beginnings, family tragedy and the ups and downs of stardom, with love, faith and determination," a synopsis of the book reads.
In 2018, both opened up to BlackDoctor.org about how they've managed to build and sustain their two-decade marriage.
"Nobody taught me how to be married or how to really love a wife. I’ve learned that the Lord wants a relationship with you, me, and with all of us. I had to learn that when the Queen is happy, the land is happy. The man may be the head, but the head doesn’t go anywhere without the neck telling it which way to turn it," Vance said.
And Bassett about Vance?
“I want what I want, he wants what he wants and sometimes they’re not the same, but we’ve learned how to negotiate to make each other happy and fulfill our dreams and desires,” she explained. “He makes me a better person. He lets me be me and do me. He is a great support person for anyone.”