Rita Wilson Reveals The Major ’80s Movie Role Tom Hanks Turned Down

US actor Tom Hanks (L) and his wife US singer and actress Rita Wilson arrive for the Recording Academy and Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California on February 4, 2023. (Photo by Michael TRAN / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images

Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson revealed the major role he turned down in the 1980s that would have been his first collaboration with three-time co-star Meg Ryan.

During the 66-year-old actress’ appearance on iHeartRadio’s “Table for Two with Bruce Bozzi” podcast, Wilson said Hanks had been offered the lead role in the 1989 hit “When Harry Met Sally,” Fox News reported.

She said the “Splash” star couldn’t quite relate with the main character’s feeling of helplessness about the end of his marriage because Hanks — who was getting a divorce from first wife Samantha Lewes — felt differently.

“People probably don’t know this, but Tom was offered ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ and he turned it down because he was going through a divorce, and he was very happy to be not married,” Wilson explained.


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“And so, he could not understand that a person going through a divorce would have anything other than just like, ‘I’m so happy,'” she added of the role.

Hanks and Ryan first teamed up in the 1990 comedy “Joe Versus the Volcano,” but the two found huge box office success with 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle” and 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.”

The lead male role in “When Harry Met Sally” instead went to Billy Crystal, and his performance in the film could possibly be one of his most memorable ones. In a recent Twitter post, Crystal marked his birthday with a fun side-by-side image of him now and one of a scene in the rom-com.

The “City Slickers” star donned a white sweater, jeans, and sneakers and took a photo of himself squatting.


He simply captioned it, “Thank you all…”

Speaking to the Library of Congress of the iconic role, Crystal previously said he “just felt so plugged into the process of making the movie … Not that anything is ever easy, but it was just such a joy to see it come to life.”

“The movie is beautiful and simple and appropriate, and every shot is just right,” he added.

Hanks and Wilson tied the knot in 1988 and share two sons together. The “Forrest Gump” star was previously married to Lewes from 1978-1987, and they share two kids together.

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