They're a Hollywood power couple, best friends and very much in love. Now, Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance have co-written a book, Friends: A Love Story, that reveals all about their relationship. The couple joins Gayle to talk about how they met, their baby twins and how they make it all work.
Angela and Courtney say they were friends long before they became lovers. The pair first met in their early 20s at the Yale School of Drama. It wasn't until a few years later that Courtney asked Angela on a date while they were hanging out with other friends. Shy by nature, Courtney says he was nervous about asking Angela out, but something in his heart compelled him to make a move. "She is the sweetest woman I've ever met, and so I probably saw us—a glimpse of that—and it just leapt out," he says.
Angela agreed, and by their third date, she says she began seeing Courtney as more than just a friend—but she had reservations about ruining their friendship. "I thought, 'Alright, here we go again, I really hope this works out,'" she says. "'I really, really hope I'm not making a serious mistake here.'"
Courtney, on the other hand, says he knew right then that she was the one. "I'm looking at this woman—the woman that I'd been looking for my whole life—and I'm realizing it's my friend who I've known for a long time and it was absolutely overwhelming," he says.
Soon there was no denying the love that had grown between the two actors, and they married in 1997. They credit their strong friendship for sustaining their relationship, as well as certain ground rules that they mutually agreed to follow. Angela says she is acutely conscious about the language she uses when they argue. "I watch the words and I try to watch the tone, too," she says. Courtney says he never raises his voice, no matter what direction a fight may take.
For Angela and Courtney, their children are just another testament to what can happen with love, faith and perseverance. Their twins, son Slater Josiah and daughter Bronwyn Golden, were born in 2006 by way of a surrogate mother—and so begins another passage in their happy marriage. "It's not just a ceremony, it's not just a thing to do—there's something strongly spiritual behind it," Courtney says.