Their long engagement was a largely hush-hush affair, but at the end of the day, it was Hollywood, and secrets rarely stay secret for long there.
Actor Laurence Fishburne, in an appearance on the Tonight Show in 2001, spilled the beans to Jay Leno about plans to marry his girlfriend, actress Gina Torres.
They had been engaged for eight months at that point, which is probably close to a privacy record for famous couples contemplating tying the knot.
In September 2002, they strolled down the aisle at The Cloisters museum in a ceremony attended by Cicely Tyson, Keanu Reeves, Lenny Kravitz, and Elton John.
It wasn’t the only significant event in the life of Gina Torres that September.
The actress, who had grown a fan base in low budget syndicated sci-fi and fantasy programs like Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and the short-lived Cleopatra 2525 (for which she won an ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series), had caught the eye of writer-producer-director Joss Whedon, and landed a leading role on a project that debuted on Fox just days before her wedding: Firefly.
While the series ran just one season, Torres stood out in a cast of standouts, alongside Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, and others.
It was a fertile moment in the life of the New York-born actress, the daughter of Cuban parents who had attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan.
The high school, known as “the FAME school” after the 1980 movie, has been a launching pad for talented kids in the city for decades, churning out notables like Jennifer Aniston, Al Pacino, Omar Epps, fellow Joss Whedon alum Sarah Michelle Gellar, Wesley Snipes, and Torres’s Firefly co-star Morena Baccarin.
As her high school career came to a close, Torres applied to a number of universities but lacked the resources to pay for it.
She didn’t agonize over the situation, and instead threw herself into her chosen field.
By the early 1990s, she was making small appearances on New York-based television shows like Law & Order and NYPD Blue, then spent a year as a soap queen on One Life to Live.
Her roles grew meatier, and her one-off appearances became recurring characters on shows like Lifetime’s Any Day Now, spy thriller 24, and Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel.
She appeared alongside her husband in a small part in the latter two installments of The Matrix trilogy, where Fishburne portrayed the seminal character Morpheus.
Both of their careers were soaring, with Fishburne turning in acclaimed performances in projects like Assault on Precinct 13 and Akeelah and the Bee during the same period.
In 2007, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child, a daughter they named Delilah, now 10.
Fishburne, who was previously married to actress Hanja Moss, has two other adult daughters from that union.
Torres threw herself into the role of involved step-mother to the girls.
In 2011, Torres helped launch the show Suits on the USA Network.
Portraying powerful lawyer Jessica Pearson, Torres received widespread acclaim for infusing the character, a black woman running one of New York’s top law firms, with smarts, style, and empathy.
She played the role for six seasons, commuting from Los Angeles to Toronto for the grueling shooting schedule, which over time created significant strains in her personal life.
In 2016, the show’s producers agreed to write Pearson more or less out of the show, sending her to Chicago and out of the regular cast.
Torres talked to the New York Times about her decision to leave the show, saying, “My contract was up, so this wasn’t a power play that went terribly wrong. My personal life needed to be tended to.”
She continued, “I think the public doesn’t understand the rigors of shooting a show for an actor, much less when you’re on location and away from home. At one point I approached Aaron [Korsh, the showrunner,] and said: ‘It’s not that I don’t love the show and love Jessica, who is my alter ego. But my life is my life, and I need to take care of it.”
Her workload had, indeed, been intense for several years.
Aside from her work on Suits, from 2013 to 2015 she co-starred alongside her husband, playing his wife Bella on TV’s Hannibal, as well as making appearances in other projects.
The problems in the marriage, it seems, were intractable by that point.
Queens Divorce Attorney For Child Custody And Visitation Agreements
Just as the couple kept their engagement from public view for eight months, they also held back on sharing that they’d separated.
Their last public appearance together was at the end of 2015, and photos that surfaced in September showed Torres getting close with another man, a Utah entrepreneur she met while vacationing in San Diego.
Their publication in the Post prompted a statement from Torres that read, “With heavy hearts, Laurence and I quietly separated and began the dissolution of our marriage in the early fall of last year. There are no bad guys here. Only a love story with a different ending than either one of us had expected.”
According to TMZ, Fishburne took a completed settlement agreement to a judge in Los Angeles on November 2, under which the couple entered into a binding agreement regarding the disposition of property.
The agreement still has to be approved by a judge, but given the pair’s apparent year-long negotiation, it’s likely that the marriage will be dissolved with no particular fuss.
Friends say the former couple is united in their desire to be great parents to Delilah.
Professionally, both remain at the top of their game.
Fishburne stars in the hit comedy Black-ish, and Torres is reportedly working with USA to create a spin-off series centered around her Jessica Pearson character, set in Chicago.
For the Cuban girl from the Bronx, it’s been a wild ride to the top, but like everyone else, Gina Torres’s life has had its share of ups and downs.
Hiring A Family Law Attorney Who Will Fight For You In Queens Divorce Court
When your marriage in Queens is ending, the right legal team can help you have the easiest divorce possible.
Call Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino today at 718-523-1111 for a free consultation with an experienced Queens divorce lawyer.