Actor Denzel Washington was born Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr., on December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, NY. His mother, Lennis, owned and operated a beauty parlor. His father, the Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., served as a Pentecostal minister. When Denzel was 14, his parents divorced and his mother enrolled him in Oakland Military Academy in New Windsor, New York.
Washington has said that decision changed his life: “…I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I was hanging out with at the time…have now done maybe 40 years combined in the penitentiary.” Denzel has been married since 1983 to the former Pauletta Pearson, although she turned him down on his first 2 marriage proposals. Denzel and Pauletta have four children: John David, 29; Katia, 26; and twins Olivia and Malcolm, 22.