Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Denzel Washington's Disconnection From His Father

In a 2012 interview, Denzel Washington described his father, who was a Christian minister, as "a decent man … a spiritual man and a gentleman." But at the age of 14, Denzel's parents divorced, and from that point on he had very little contact with his father.

Here's how Denzel described their relationship:
I didn't see him that much. Uh, the things I did, like sports and things, he wasn't really … I guess being a spiritual man, or just because he had to work so much, I didn't see him …. Once [my parents] were separated, I was in school. So 70 percent of the year, I was away. In the summer, I wasn't looking to track him down. I was ready to hit the streets. So you just kind of fade …. Not to say that I didn't love him like a dad. But we didn't play ball, those types of things. Next thing you know, you're at college.
Years later, Denzel flew to New York City for a film project and his brother met him at the airport. Denzel said:

The first thing I thought was Mom died. And he said, "Dad had a stroke." That was April of '91, and he died in August. We started shooting around the time that he died. [pauses] I never shed a tear for my father. That sounds like a book or a song. I never did all through the funeral and all that. There was no connection.

Michael Hainey, "The GQ&A: Denzel Washington," GQ (October 2012)