Tom Hanks announced he and wife Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus on March 11, 2020. While shooting a movie in Australia, Hanks wrote on Instagram that he and Wilson “felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches.” They also had slight fevers, and Wilson had intermittent chills. After going to get tested, they were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
The news came as an eye-opening shock. Not only is Hanks everyone’s favorite movie star, but he’s also the first high-profile celebrity to be diagnosed with COVID-19. As journalist Ann Curry tweeted, “Now we all have someone we love diagnosed.”
At 63 years old, Hanks is in the age group at the highest risk for coronavirus, per USA Today. As of this reporting, the virus has claimed over 4,600 lives, and over 120,000 people have been diagnosed worldwide (via the World Health Organization). The WHO upgraded the outbreak to “global pandemic” status on the same day of Hanks’ announcement.
Nonetheless, in true Hanks fashion, his announcement was remarkably calm. “Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” he wrote. He is one of the most notoriously chill, down-to-earth actors in Hollywood, after all. His son Chet Hanks doesn’t seem to be overly panicked either. Shortly after Hanks’ announcement, Chet shared a reassuring video update about his parents’ health.
Chet Hanks says his parents are 'not even that sick'
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s son Chet Hanks explained in a video that his parents aren’t too sick, nor are they too concerned. “Yeah, it’s true my parents got coronavirus. Crazy,” Chet said in the IG video. “They’re both down in Australia right now because my dad was shooting a movie down there but I just got off the phone with them. They both are fine, they’re not even that sick. They’re not worried about it, they’re not trippin’ but they’re going through the necessary health precautions, obviously.”
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He added, “I don’t think it’s anything to be too worried about. I appreciate everyone’s concern and the well wishes. But I think it’s all going to be alright. I appreciate it. Just everybody stay safe out there. Much love.” Wilson commented, “Love you angel” on the video. Chet’s brother Colin Hanks also posted his own update, which was equally reassuring. Colin said he’s “confident” that Hanks and Wilson will “make a full recovery.”
Chet is the most controversial member of the Hanks family
Tom Hanks has five children, including two older kids from a previous marriage and three with his current wife Rita Wilson. But Chet Hanks tends to garner the most public attention out of all the Hanks siblings — and not in a positive way.
Chet is a controversial figure, to say the least. The 29-year-old has drawn criticism for a number of actions over the years, from using fake Jamaican patois at the 2020 Golden Globes to aggressively defending his use of the N-word on Instagram. The latter incident happened in 2015, when he was known as “Chet Haze” — his rapper name. Yep, Tom Hanks has a rapper son, because real life is stranger than fiction sometimes.
While Tom Hanks is universally beloved, Chet Hanks most definitely is not. It’s not just his missteps that many take issue with, but also his steadfast refusal to apologize or learn from his mistakes. For example, he appeared to relish in the backlash over using fake patois, an act of cultural appropriation. He did finally apologize for using the N-word in 2018, explaining that he was “on a lot of drugs” and “trolling” (via Ebony). But for many critics, it was too little too late.
Chet Hanks' coronavirus update has prompted mixed reactions
As more and more folks are spending time at home due to the pandemic, people are probably even more tuned-in to celebrity updates than usual. People are definitely heartbroken about Tom Hanks’ coronavirus diagnosis despite his family’s reassurances, and in some cases, they’re taking it out on their least favorite member of the Hanks family, Chet.
One woman posted on her Instagram Story, facetiously begging the coronavirus to take Chet instead of Tom. “@coronavirus PLEASE take @chethanx instead we CANNOT lose Tom Hanks,” the woman wrote. Because she boldly tagged Chet’s Instagram username in the post, it caught his attention, according to a screenshot that went viral on Twitter. True to form, he replied to the story, “F**k you b***h.” In response, the woman apologized and wished him and his family well.
For other folks, Chet has proved to be a deeply comforting figure in this scary time, thanks to his calm video update. “Listen, I didn’t think I would be taking my cues about calming down during the end of the world from Chet Hanks,” BuzzFeed writer Scaachi Koul wrote. “We need comfort where we can get it right now.”
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are now in isolation at the Gold Coast University Hospital in Queensland, Australia. And according to The Washington Post, the Sydney Opera House is trying to trace over 200 people who may have come into contact with them.
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