Denzel Washington celebrated as one of the most prominent actors of his generation, has been known to make some unconventional choices in his career. Despite his immense influence in Hollywood, Washington has made specific requests that production crews have respected, including his refusal to engage in on-screen kissing scenes with certain actresses, among them Hollywood icon Julia Roberts.

This reluctance on Washington’s part isn’t motivated by personal conflicts or mere reluctance. Instead, it traces back to a film he watched more than three decades ago, shaping his perspective on such scenes.

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Washington’s journey in Hollywood began in the early 1980s, gaining him international recognition for his role in “A Soldier’s Story.” Throughout the decade, he steadily built his repertoire, culminating in an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1989 for his performance in “Glory.”

In 1989, Washington took on the role of a distinguished British soldier in “The Mighty Quinn,” a thriller co-starring Mimi Rogers. However, a kissing scene between Washington and Rogers caused controversy among some audience members. Allegedly, Washington noticed several black women expressing disapproval during a screening of the film and subsequently arranged for the scene to be removed.

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Just four years later, Washington starred opposite acclaimed actress Julia Roberts in “The Pelican Brief.” Reports emerged that a kissing scene between the two stars had been removed from the film, although the decision-maker was initially unclear. In 2002, Roberts revealed to Newsweek that it was Washington who made the call to omit the scene.

When asked about the decision, Roberts jokingly responded, “Don’t I have a pulse?” indicating her willingness to kiss Washington. She further explained that it was Washington’s idea to remove the scenes, citing his desire not to alienate his predominantly black female fanbase by engaging in kissing scenes with white actresses.

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“Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film,” Washington once remarked. “But they have always been my core audience.”

Throughout his career, Washington remained committed to this perspective, reportedly opting to remove intimate scenes from certain films. For instance, both the 1995 sci-fi film “Virtuosity” and the 2004 thriller “Man on Fire” were rumored to have included scenes featuring Washington with his co-stars Kelly Lynch and Radha Mitchell. However, these scenes were ultimately cut, although it remains unclear whether Washington directly influenced these decisions.

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Despite achieving global fame and iconic status in the film industry, acting wasn’t Washington’s initial career choice. He initially pursued various paths, including contemplating becoming a doctor during his college years. However, he struggled to find interest in his biology and political science classes, eventually trying journalism before discovering acting.

Raised in a religious household as the son of a Pentecostal preacher, Washington never seriously considered following his father’s footsteps into the ministry. However, Ruth Green, a respected member of his mother’s church known for her prophetic abilities, once told him that he would “speak to millions” and “do great things.”

The Reason Denzel Washington Refused To Kiss Julia Roberts

Initially, Washington interpreted Ruth Green’s prophecy as a call to become a preacher like his father. However, in hindsight, he realized that his talent for acting was what she had foreseen. “Since I’ve been given this ability to act, this must be what Ruth Green was talking about,” he reflected.

While it took him longer than some other actors to recognize his passion for acting, Washington managed to explore his potential career paths through his performances. He portrayed a doctor in the series “St. Elsewhere,” embodied political activist Stephen Biko in “Cry Freedom,” and famously portrayed Malcolm X, a role that became iconic in his career.