Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance's Relationship Timeline

The dynamic duo met at the Yale School of Drama in the '80s.

When you think of an undeniable Black Hollywood love story, Angela Bassett and Courtney B.Vance should come to mind.

The actors met as graduate students at the Yale School of Drama in the 1980s. Despite some challenges, they crossed paths again in 1994 when both were single. After a couple of dates, their relationship deepened with a memorable first kiss that left an unforgettable impression on Bassett.

Following a few years of dating, they tied the knot in 1997. The couple welcomed twins, Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah, in 2006. Their relationship journey is detailed in their joint book, "Friends: A Love Story."

Ahead, find the timeline of this magical love story.

1988: Not-So-Love-At-First-Night

Bassett earned her bachelor's degree in African American studies from Yale, followed by a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama in 1983. On the other hand, Vance obtained his bachelor's degree in history from Harvard University and completed his Master of Fine Arts at Yale in 1986.

Bassett told PEOPLE, "He had a beautiful, beautiful girlfriend at the time, who was also in drama school with us." During an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she shared that she thought he was "tall, lithe, dark, skinny and just alluring."

1994: It’s Meant To Be

"So maybe about 14 years later, our paths crossed here in Los Angeles. And I was single; he was single," Bassett told PEOPLE. "And I had such an appreciation for him over those years — of his consistency, how he treated other people, of what a supporter he is, what a connector of people and ideas he is, how passionate he is."

During a 2007 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Angela Bassett shared that her first date with Courtney B. Vance was unremarkable. Despite this, they decided to go on a second date, which was a pivotal moment in their relationship. They had a great time, and Vance realized something special was happening between them.

1997: Meet Me At The Altar

As Bassett was gearing up to play one of her most iconic roles in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," she and Vance tied the knot on October 12, 1997, in a private ceremony.

Angela Bassett shared in a People interview that during a challenging time, she asked her husband-to-be for support, saying, "I'm trying to do this and be Stella. It's a lot, and I need you to step in and help me out." Vance responded positively, demonstrating his supportive nature.

2006: Oh Babies!

On January 27, 2006, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance joyfully welcomed fraternal twins, Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah, weighing 6 lbs, 2 oz, and  5 lbs, 2 oz, respectively. Vance expressed that having twins fulfilled a premonition he had seven years earlier. Bassett, reflecting on the moment, described it as a dream come true, emphasizing the realization of their long-held prayers.

2007: A Love Story, Penned

Bassett and Vance chose to unveil their love story for Valentine's Day. In February 2007, they released "Friends: A Love Story," a collaborative memoir chronicling the journey of their relationship.

The Good Reads summary says, "Experience the up-close-and-personal, real-life love story of this inspirational African-American celebrity couple. Learn how they navigate the fickle tides of fame while keeping their relationship fresh and true."

2008 - 2009: Flaws and All

According to People’s timeline of the couple’s relationship, Bassett faced a demanding schedule during her stint in the medical drama "ER"  's final season. Bassett discussed the challenges of her demanding schedule, citing early call times and long workdays that sometimes kept her away from her family until late at night.

Despite these challenges, she acknowledged feeling blessed by the flexibility of her acting career, allowing her husband, Courtney B. Vance, to be with the children once he finished his arc on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

2016: Black Love Wins

At the 68th annual Emmy Awards in 2016, Courtney B. Vance took home the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his portrayal of Johnnie Cochran in "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."

In his acceptance speech, Vance expressed gratitude to those who contributed to his success, including his children, and gave a special shout-out to his wife, Angela Bassett, stating, "And last but not least, to the woman that rocks my chain! Angela Evelyn Bassett, this one is for you, girl!"

2019: Rooting for Love

In addition to earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale, the actress also received three honorary doctorates. The second one from Morehouse College in 2019, a moment celebrated by her husband on Instagram. He shared a photo with Bassett, expressing pride in her achievement. The other two were from Yale in 2018 and Old Dominion University in 2022.

2020: The Secret Sauce

In a statement to PEOPLE before the Motion Picture & Television Fund virtual gala, Bassett reflected on over two decades of marriage, attributing the success to marrying the right person. She emphasized the importance of shared beliefs, compatible personalities, and mutual support.

She said, "Because we all have strengths, strengths and weaknesses, and we want to support one another. But I think also recognizing that we are each individuals, we have our individual dreams and desires and hopes and ways of doing things."

2022: 25 Down, 25 More To Go!

Slater Vance, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance attend the 5th Annual WACO Wearable Art Gala at Barker Hangar on October 22, 2022 in Santa Monica, California.
Slater Vance, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance attend the 5th Annual WACO Wearable Art Gala

Celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, The What's Love Got To Do With It actress and actor expressed joy and gratitude on Instagram. They shared a video of their festive celebration on October 1. They penned a sweet message on October 12 expressing gratitude for the constant of having each other and thanking God for the 25 years.

2023: Power Couple

Today, the couple remains a beacon of love and light and continue to slay red carpets as they recently did for the opening night at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. They donned matching all-black ensembles that exuded Black excellence, literally.


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