Life hasn’t always been easy for Viola Davis.
In a revealing new interview with AARP The Magazine, the 49-year-old actress opened up about growing up poor — and admitted she often went hungry because her family couldn’t afford meals.
“Most of the time, the school lunch was the only meal I had. And I would befriend kids whose mothers cooked three meals a day and go to their homes when I could,” she said of her childhood in Central Falls, R. I.
Viola at the Emmys with her husband in August 2014.
As the second youngest of six kids in her family, Viola recalled she and her siblings were often made fun of because they were unable to afford bus fare. “People would throw things out of cars and call us the N-word. It was constant,” she said.
Today, the star’s life has changed drastically thanks to her success as an actress. Since she rose to prominence on Broadway in the mid-1990s, Viola has been nominated for three Tony Awards (winning two), three Golden Globes, five SAG Awards (winning three), two Oscars and an Emmy. She has garnered critical acclaim for her roles in 2008’s Doubt, 2011’s The Help and the hit series How to Get Away with Murder.
Viola with her daughter in March 2015.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, she has also found happiness with her husband, actor Julius Tennon — whom she married in 2003 — and their five-year-old daughter, Genesis.
“When you grow up poor, you dream of just having a home, and a bed that’s clean — that’s a sanctuary,” she said. “Having a really great husband, a child who’s healthy and happy and brings me joy — all of that has been my dream.”