How Mister Rogers Helped Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's Marriage

Tom Hanks credits Mister Rogers with keeping his marriage to Rita Wilson strong. The actor is playing Fred Rogers in the new movie A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood, but he has a special relationship with Rogers off-screen too. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, he explained.

Rogers and his co-star, Matthew Rhys sat down with an ET reporter on Sunday to discuss Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as the cultural touchstone that led to their new movie. The show is beloved for giving kids practical, much-needed skills to communicate and socialize well. Even at age of 63, Hanks says he still employees those lessons to this day.

"When my wife and I are going at it on those rare occasions, when she is letting me know that I'm not really listening to her and I'm trying to establish what the ground rules are [for the argument], when we're going at it like that, one of us will say, 'Well, you know what? You know what, honey? It's good to talk. It's good to say the things we feel,'" Hanks said. And I learned that from Mister Rogers."

Hanks was, of course, quoting one of Rogers' favorite sayings on the show. His work focused on anti-bullying through an overall compassionate mindset, and most viewers agree that he hit that mark. Reaching children during that critical age has proven to be impactful, as evidenced by Hanks and Wilson, who are still using Rogers' lessons as adults.

Hanks and Wilson married in 1988 after starring together in two movies earlier that decade. They have two sons, and have enjoyed 31 years of uninterrupted happiness. Hanks said that they share a few regular old hobbies together, including a love of cooking.

"We make soup together," he revealed. "Like, if we have a day off and there's nothing going on... it takes about two to three hours."

Fans are delighted that Hanks is playing Rogers, as the two have a similarly likable, easygoing energy. Hanks admitted that they are similar, but not in all the ways people assume. For example, he said: "I don't allow anyone to take advantage of my good nature and I don't know that Fred did either."

"I'm nothing like Fred Rogers in any way, shape, or form," he went on. "Except, I think, I wake up in the morning thinking, 'Hey, it's a nice day, it's a good day. Let's try to make it a little bit better."


A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood tells the story of a journalist (Rhys) assigned to write a profile of Fred Rogers. At first he is jaded, not believing in the simple, earnest message of the show, but over time he becomes a true believer.

A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood hits theaters on Friday, Nov. 22.