Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Had Much More Severe Coronavirus Symptoms Than They Let On

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were the first celebrities to be diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19). They were in Australia where Hanks was filming the untitled Elvis Presley movie in which he plays Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. Hanks and Wilson spent the required 14 days in quarantine until they recovered and returned to the United States. 

Tom Hanks as Ernie Krause
Tom Hanks | Apple/Sony

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Hanks’ latest movie was also impacted by coronavirus. When movie theaters closed, Greyhound went from a summer blockbuster to a streaming premiere. Hanks spoke with The Guardian in an interview published July 6 in which he opened up about he and Wilson’s struggles with coronavirus. Greyhound premieres July 10 on Apple TV+.

Even celebrities like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have very different coronavirus symptoms

Hanks jokingly referred to himself and his wife as “the celebrity canaries in the coalmine of all things Covid-19.” They did bring a lot of awareness to the virus when news was just coming out early in 2020. Their social media posts from quarantine also kept people informed. It’s not just either you die from the virus or you recover. It takes various forms.

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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“We’re fine,” Hanks says now. “Our discomfort because of the virus was pretty much done in two weeks and we had very different reactions, and that was odd.”

Rita Wilson wasn’t all rap

One of Wilson’s quarantine posts went viral. She rapped Rapper’s Delight and nailed it. However, Hanks informed The Guardian that Wilson had serious coronavirus symptoms the whole time. 

“My wife lost her sense of taste and smell,” Hanks said. “She had severe nausea, she had a much higher fever than I did.”

Tom Hanks was not as comfortable as he looked 

Some of Hanks’s quarantine social media posts included an Instagram of his vegemite breakfast. Although he was able to host Saturday Night Live and give interviews upon his return, Hanks was in severe discomfort with coronavirus too.

“I just had crippling body aches,” Hanks said. “I was very fatigued all the time and I couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than about 12 minutes. That last bit is kinda like my natural state anyway.”

Hanks had a bit of immunocompromisation when he contracted coronavirus. He was most concerned that the virus would exacerbate his pre-existing conditions. 

Tom Hanks in Greyhound
Tom Hanks | Apple/Sony

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“When we were in the hospital, I said, ‘I’m 63, I have type 2 diabetes, I had a stent in my heart – am I a red flag case?’” Hanks said. “But as long as our temperatures did not spike, and our lungs did not fill up with something that looked like pneumonia, they were not worried.”

It’s time for everyone to do their part

Part of Hanks and Wilson’s motivation for sharing so much of their struggle with coronavirus was to let their fans know to take it seriously. Hanks has joked about having the antibodies, suggesting they use his blood to make the Hanksine. Getting serious, he just wants people to follow the social distancing guidelines. 

Tom Hanks in Greyhound
Tom Hanks | Niko Tavernise/Sony Pictures/CTMG

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“There’s really only three things everyone needs to do: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands,” Hanks said.” I know societally it’s been politicised, but I don’t get it, man. I don’t understand how anyone can put their foot down and say: ‘I don’t have to do my part.’”

Tom Hanks in isolation

Hanks gave his interview to The Guardian via video chat. He updated The Guardian on how he’s handling the isolation, and reminisced about industry events earlier this year.

“I have all the benefits of my station,” Hank said. “I’m able to see the kids and a few friends. I’m not experiencing anything but the great question of, what’s going to happen? Remember those carefree days of the Academy Awards? It was like, what’s that place in Italy underneath the mountain that exploded? Here we are in Pompeii! Great day! Bit of smoke on the horizon but other than that…”