Not many couples have a book written about their love’s journey. Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance wrote Friends: A Love Story based on their relationship’s metamorphosis from friendship into the beautiful 15 year marriage that it is now.
The couple met at the Yale School of Drama and on an appearance on Oprah, Angela fondly remembers Courtney as tall, dark and skinny and Courtney laughs and claims he doesn’t remember Angela at all. After graduating, Angela moved to L.A. to pursue her career and Courtney hit Broadway. They randomly ran into each other in 1994, went out on a date that fell flat. But it’s a good thing they decided to go on a second date because that’s when sparks flew.
The acting lovebirds wed in 1997 and have created a foundation of friendship that allowed their relationship to stand strong against any obstacle.
Why She Loves Him: Courtney loves being able to keep Angela happy. He gets the simple concept of happy wife, happy life. In an interview with Rachael Ray, Courtney explained how he became a husband and it’s definitely something to swoon over. “It was a hard concept to get my mind around. I worked with a trainer, who was also a marriage counselor. So everyday I was being counseled and he asked me what it cost when she asked me–if we were in a car–which way do we go, to say, ‘Which way do you want to go?’ I want peace in my home. I want that smile everyday. What I had to realize was that she’s first and when the queen is happy, the land is happy.”
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Why He Loves Her: Friends first is usually the smartest route to love. Courtney maintained a friendship with Angela until one day, it just became so much more. He told PEOPLE, “We’re like old friends who all of a sudden looked up and said, ‘Hmmm …,’ Gradually it dawned on us that we like each other.”
Why They Work: Courtney and Angela have ground rules that they try to maintain in order to keep the peace in their marriage. No relationship is 100% perfect, the couple told Oprah that when they have their arguments, Angela watches her tone and the words she chooses while Courtney never raises his voice no matter what way the argument goes. “I’m putting two feet in with this one. We’re not going to be doing shows and movies together. We need to close the doors and figure our our marriage. We had to make a commitment to each other that divorce is not an option and to take it off the table.” Angela says, “He said that we would have to fight through it to get to the other end of it. It was really wonderful.”
Why We Love Them: This couple kept things old school with abstinence. This is an almost foreign concept these days. When Courtney proposed to Angela, they decided to keep their relationship out of the bedroom until their wedding night.