No, cameras did not catch actor Tom Hanks berating a Cannes Film Festival staff member. His wife Rita Wilson insists he was simply asking for directions.
The pair attended the annual French festival on Tuesday for the premiere of Hanks’ upcoming film Asteroid City. But most of the talk from the red carpet seemed to focus on viral photos showing the 66-year-old Hanks pointing with an angry look on his face as he talked to a Cannes employee.
Wilson, 66, quickly shut down reports her husband had scolded the worker in an Instagram story, overlaying an article from The Daily Mail with a caption explaining what actually happened. “This is called I can’t hear you. People are screaming. What did you say? Where are we supposed to go?” her caption read. “But that doesn’t sell stories! Nice try. We had a great time! Go see Asteroid City!”
The Cannes employee in the photos, Vincent Chapalain, corroborated Wilson’s explanation in a pair of tweets on Tuesday, saying Hanks and Wilson were merely asking if they should return to the start of the red carpet with the rest of the film’s crew. They needed to speak loudly because of the “cries of the photographers,” Chapalain said.
As for the rest of the evening at the festival, Hanks and the ensemble cast of Asteroid City—including Scarlett Johansson, Jason Schwartzman, and Tilda Swinton—enjoyed a positive response. According to Variety, the Wes Anderson-directed film received a six-minute standing ovation.
Hanks and Wilson’s Relationship
Hanks has given an actual scolding before—to overzealous fans who nearly knocked over his wife in June 2022. The pair were walking in New York City when Wilson tripped and nearly fell amid the crowd following them. “Back the f–– off!” Hanks shouted, with the scene captured on video.
His protective reaction wasn’t all that surprising, as Hanks and Wilson have forged one of Hollywood’s most enduring and endearing relationships. According to Page Six, they met in 1981 on the set of Hanks’ TV sitcom Bosom Buddies and have worked together in films like Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and That Thing You Do! (1996). They married in 1988, and the two recently celebrated their 35th anniversary on April 30. Wilson even shared a photo of the Cast Away actor holding their anniversary cake.
They often make headlines for positive reasons. Forrest Gump star Hanks has a habit of crashing weddings, while Wilson, who pivoted to a singing career in 2019, has used her musical talents for good. She worked with hip hop group Naughty By Nature on a remix of the hit “Hip Hop Hooray,” raising money for musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The pair have two children together: sons Chet, 32, and Truman, 27. Tom also has two children—son Colin, 45, and daughter Elizabeth, 41—from his previous marriage to Samantha Lewes. Truman recently starred with his father in the 2022 film A Man Called Otto, playing a younger version of Tom’s character during flashback scenes.
While accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2020 Golden Globes, Tom held back tears as he spoke about the support of Wilson and his children throughout his career. “A man is blessed with a family sitting down front like that—a wife who is fantastic in every way, who has taught me what love is,” he said.
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.