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Coronavirus hits Hollywood: Tom Hanks and his wife announce their diagnosis

Published Mar 11th, 2020 11:49PM EDT
Tom Hanks coronavirus
Image: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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  • Around the time that President Trump was announcing a travel ban from Europe during an address Wednesday evening to try and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, Tom Hanks and his wife became the first major celebrities to publicly confirm they’ve been diagnosed with the virus.
  • Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson are currently in Australia for work on director Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming movie about Elvis Presley, in which Hanks will star as Presley’s manager. Word of their diagnosis, meanwhile, capped a frenetic day of news headlines that seemed to emerge almost every hour as a result of the virus’ outbreak and continued spread.
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Around the same time as President Trump was delivering a televised Oval Office address Wednesday night about the spread of coronavirus in the US and the federal government’s new steps to combat it, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson released a statement via social media confirming they both have tested positive for the virus.

Hanks’ statement in full can be read below. Both he and his wife — who appear to be the first major celebrities to confirm they’ve tested positive for the virus — are in Australia at the moment for work on director Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming movie about Elvis Presley, in which Hanks is portraying Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker.

In the statement, Hanks goes into some light detail about the symptoms he and his wife are experiencing and stresses that they’ll follow the guidelines of medical professionals to do whatever is required:

The film’s distributor is Warner Bros., which issued this statement after Hanks and Wilson confirmed their diagnosis. The statement reads:

“We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production in The Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual. The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and we are taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently receiving treatment.”

This news capped a whirlwind of a day in which major headlines stemming from the virus’ spread seemed to emerge on the hour.

During Trump’s address, for example, he announced a ban on travel from Europe that goes into effect at midnight on Friday and will last for 30 days. Not long after his televised address had concluded, word began to spread that the NBA is canceling the remainder of its season — all of this on the same day that the World Health Organization declared the virus to be a global pandemic.

More than 115,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, and the disease has killed more than 4,200 people.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.