Why Denzel Washington "never shed a tear" when his father died, not even at his funeral

Why Denzel Washington "never shed a tear" when his father died, not even at his funeral

The 67-year-old actor's father had a stroke in April 1991 and died in August.

Actor Denzel Washington at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The award-winning actor Denzel Washington is an icon in the movie biz. He's also a doting dad to four children whom he shares with his wife of nearly four decades, Pauletta. To Denzel, family means everything but the actor did not have an easy childhood. "My parents were like night and day. She’s urban, raised in Harlem. My father was just this spirit-filled man until the day he died, a country boy raised on a farm in Virginia," he shared. Denzel's parents eventually filed for divorce when he was just 14 years old. 


At the time, Denzel was away in private school. Then his mother came and told him 'Go get your keys, we don't live in our house no more.' After his parents split, between the ages of 14 and 18, he lived with his mother but he found it difficult. Then he moved in with his father who kicked him out and said, "You're just bad," according to the actor. His father was a Pentecostal preacher, according to GQ. The Malcolm X actor told the out that his father also worked two or three jobs and he never got much time to spend with him. The actor shared, "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. My mother didn't see me, either—the things I did, the sports and that. Because they were working. It wasn't like it's been for our children, where you take them to all their events. It was a different time. Once they 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."


When Denzel's father died in 1991, while the actor was filming Malcolm X, he did not feel a thing. "I was flying to New York to meet with Spike, and when we landed my brother was there. 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." Was it because he was disappointed in his father?  The actor noted, "I didn't think of it that way. Everyone I grew up with didn't have a father. I had a father. My father was a decent man. He was a very spiritual man and a gentleman." But Denzel admitted that he's his mother's son. "I’m more like my mother. She is the toughest woman." 


Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Frazer Harrison