Meet Julius Tennon, Husband Of 'Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom' Star Viola Davis

Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Viola Davis's Husband: Who is Julius Tennon?

Superstar Viola Davis has many awards under her belt for her work in movies and television.

Some of her notable acting gigs include How To Get Away With Murder (2014) and The Help (2011), and on Dec. 18, her highly anticipated Netflix dramaMa Rainey's Black Bottom, hits the streaming service.

While it seems like Davis is always working on a new project, do you ever wonder who she spends her time with when she's not starring in award-winning films and TV shows?

Who is Viola Davis's husband, Julius Tennon?

Here's everything to know about her longtime husband, Julius Tennon.

How did Viola Davis and Julius Tennon meet?

By the power of prayer, that's how!

Viola met her beau 3.5 weeks after praying for a husband.

She prayed for “a big Black man from the South who looked like a football player, who already had children, who maybe had been married before,” after a friend suggested she should pray for her love life.

The two tied the knot on June 23, 2003.

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After 17 years of marriage, these two are going still going strong.

“17 years of marriage to the most beautiful man in the WORLD!!!!" Davis captioned the above picture on Instagram. 

"You have made my life sweeter and my heart bigger. I prayed for you and God said, 'Yes! I have just the right person for you!!!!' Happy Anniversary my love... The best is yet to be," she added.

Tennon was married twice before.

Julius married Sheryl Lynn Arnold in 1974 before divorcing in 1980.

The marriage resulted in two children. Tennon remarried in 1992 to a woman named Christine Dejohnna White before the marriage ended in 1998.

The actor found that the third time was the charm, as he and Davis have been married for over a decade.

His alma mater is The University of Tulsa.

Tennon received a football scholarship and became the first Black man to graduate from the Theatre program at the University of Tulsa. 

He did not continue with football due to knee injuries during college. 

He has spoken about being the only Black person in the Theatre program, saying, “You have to have a certain amount of fearlessness to be in a department where you are the only [one]”

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While at The University of Tulsa, he played complex roles, like as Randall — “a brilliant schizophrenic kid” — in Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.

He has impressive acting credits himself.

Tennon’s known for appearing in Dazed and Confused (1993), Small Soliders (1998), Friday Night Lights (2004) and Faster (2010).

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He has also performed in plays, like August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.

He’s a family man.

The 66-year-old actor has three kids — two from his first marriage, and one with Davis. He is a grandpa to seven grandchildren.

He and Davis adopted a daughter named Genesis, who is about 9 years old.

He started a company with his wife.

Julius Tennon and Viola Davis started their company, Juvee Productions, in 2011. Tennon serves as the President and Davis serves as the CEO.

Their production company's mission is to “reconstruct the narrative” of Hollywood through “recruit[ing] and mentor[ing] a new generation who represents the world because, for us, inclusion is a strategic imperative.”

Viola Davis spoke highly of their company, saying, “My husband [Julius Tennon] and I started a production company. We've already optioned a book and some scripts to do exactly that, to create more complicated, multi-faceted roles for African-Americans, especially African-American females. I think it's important.”

He’s one proud parent.

His daughter, Genesis, has caught the acting bug from her parents, already having an acting credit in The Angry Birds Movie 2

Viola Davis shared that their daughter has a calling towards acting, saying, “She likes looking up the last scene from The Help. She inevitably cries. Then she says, ‘OK, Mommy, let’s do the scene. You be Aibie and I’ll be Mae Mobley.’ When we do the scene, she lights up.”

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Charleigh Reid is an editorial intern at YourTango who covers news, entertainment, and more.