EntertainmentWhat Happened to Tom Hanks' First Wife?

What Happened to Tom Hanks’ First Wife?


Tom Hanks is a household name, renowned for his exceptional acting skills and endearing personality. However, not many are aware of the story behind his first wife, Samantha Lewes. So, what happened to Tom Hanks’ first wife? Let’s delve into the life of Samantha Lewes, her relationship with Tom Hanks, and her lasting legacy.

Who Was Samantha Lewes?

Samantha Lewes, born Susan Jane Dillingham on November 29, 1952, was an actress known for her talent and dedication. She pursued acting in her early years and found some success in the industry, though her career was relatively modest compared to Tom Hanks’. Despite this, she left an indelible mark on those who knew her.

Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes: A Love Story

Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes met while studying at California State University, Sacramento. Their shared passion for acting brought them together, and their romance blossomed quickly. They tied the knot in 1978, marking the beginning of a journey filled with love, challenges, and growth.

The Rise of Tom Hanks’ Career

In the early years of their marriage, Tom Hanks was a struggling actor trying to make a name for himself. Samantha stood by him through thick and thin, providing unwavering support. His major breakthrough came with the TV show “Bosom Buddies” in the early 1980s, and his career skyrocketed from there, with iconic roles in movies like “Splash” and “Big.”

Challenges in the Marriage

As Tom Hanks’ career soared, the pressures of Hollywood began to take a toll on their marriage. The demands of his burgeoning career, coupled with personal differences, led to growing strains between them. Balancing family life with a demanding career is never easy, and the couple faced their share of challenges.

The Divorce

In 1987, after nearly a decade of marriage, Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes decided to part ways. The divorce was amicable, but it undoubtedly had a significant impact on their children, Colin and Elizabeth Hanks. Despite their separation, both Tom and Samantha remained committed to co-parenting and supporting their kids.

Life After Divorce for Samantha Lewes

Post-divorce, Samantha Lewes focused on her personal life and raising her children. She maintained a low profile, away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Her relationship with Colin and Elizabeth remained strong, and she devoted herself to being a nurturing mother.

Samantha Lewes’ Health Struggles

Tragedy struck when Samantha Lewes was diagnosed with bone cancer. The discovery of her illness was a devastating blow to her and her family. Despite the grim prognosis, Samantha faced her battle with cancer with remarkable courage and resilience.

Support from Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks, despite being remarried, was deeply affected by Samantha’s illness. He provided emotional and financial support during her treatment, showcasing the enduring bond and respect between them. His dedication to her well-being during this challenging time was a testament to his character.

Samantha Lewes’ Final Days

Samantha Lewes fought bravely against cancer, but unfortunately, she passed away on March 12, 2002. Her final days were spent surrounded by loved ones, and her legacy lived on through her children and the lives she touched. Her passing was a profound loss to all who knew her.

The Aftermath for Tom Hanks

Following Samantha’s death, Tom Hanks continued to build his illustrious career. He found love again with actress Rita Wilson, whom he married in 1988. Together, they have built a strong and enduring partnership, but Samantha’s memory remains a part of Tom’s life and legacy.

Samantha Lewes’ Legacy

Samantha Lewes’ influence is evident in her children, Colin and Elizabeth Hanks, both of whom have pursued careers in the entertainment industry. Her legacy extends beyond her family, as she is remembered for her contributions to acting and her strength in facing life’s challenges.

Tom Hanks’ Reflections

In various interviews, Tom Hanks has reflected on his first marriage with fondness and respect. He has acknowledged the important role Samantha played in his early career and the enduring impact she had on his life. His reflections are a poignant reminder of their shared history.

Public Perception

Samantha Lewes may not have had the same public profile as Tom Hanks, but those who knew her and fans of Tom’s work remember her fondly. The media has often highlighted her as a pivotal figure in Tom’s life, and her story is one of love, strength, and resilience.


Samantha Lewes’ life was marked by love, dedication, and an indomitable spirit. Though she faced many challenges, her legacy lives on through her children and the memories of those who knew her. Her story is a reminder of the enduring power of love and the impact one person can have on many lives.


1. Who was Tom Hanks’ first wife? Tom Hanks’ first wife was Samantha Lewes, an actress born Susan Jane Dillingham.

2. When did Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes get married? Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes got married in 1978.

3. How many children did Tom Hanks and Samantha Lewes have together? They had two children together, Colin and Elizabeth Hanks.

4. What illness did Samantha Lewes battle? Samantha Lewes battled bone cancer.

5. When did Samantha Lewes pass away? Samantha Lewes passed away on March 12, 2002.

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