A love for the ages. As Denzel Washington celebrates his 41st wedding anniversary with wife Pauletta, a source exclusively reveals to Closer the Oscar winner “can’t imagine life without her.” Things weren’t always so rosy for the 69-year-old and his wife. “He was dogged by persistent cheating rumors 20 years ago, which he denied,” says the source. Pauletta, who met her husband on a 1977 TV movie, before she retreated from her acting career to raise their four children, chose to take his word.

“She never kicked him out,” says the insider. “And Denzel has since become the model husband. Denzel was given another chance, and he ran with it.” Pauletta, 73, once revealed that her role as Denzel’s ride-or-die has given her hubby “stability” and “strength, regardless of if he misuses it … that gives him a great platform to go and fly.” Says the source, “Pauletta’s the one who’s supported him through his ups and downs. Denzel must ask himself what he did to deserve her!”