Tom Hanks has maintained an unblemished reputation at the pinnacle of Hollywood for decades, proving himself to be a legend on the big screen and widely regarded as the epitome of a gentleman off-screen.

However, what many may not realize is that Tom has quietly battled an illness for an extended period.

Tom Hanks, renowned for his portrayal of Forrest Gump, may only be 66 years old, which is surprising considering the depth of his career.

The two-time Academy Award winner has not only established himself as a stellar actor but also as a genuinely kind individual, earning him the moniker “America’s Dad.” Despite his fame and fortune, Hanks remains grounded, often photographed engaging with fans and demonstrating goodwill beyond the glitz of Hollywood.

Reflecting on Hanks’ childhood and upbringing in Concord, California, sheds light on his down-to-earth nature. As a child of divorce, he experienced frequent relocations, leading to what he described as a nomadic upbringing.

It seems that Tom was never properly taught how to brush his teeth, and his upbringing was marked by neglect.

In an interview with Graham Bensinger, Tom recounted, “Maybe there was a degree of loneliness because really no one — I kind of like fell through the cracks and didn’t really have people per se who were taking care of me.”

By the age of ten, Tom had already moved residences ten times. He grew up amidst a revolving door of stepbrothers and stepsisters due to his parents’ numerous relationships and marriages, which occurred “three or four times.” Tom has mentioned that if he were to encounter some of them today, he wouldn’t recognize them.

“After our parents divorced, our younger brother and three older siblings moved in with our mother and father.” Following that, we were shuttled back and forth. I remember times when we shared a bedroom one moment and then a vast, scattered house the next. “There were times when we didn’t speak for years,” Tom recounted to the Chicago Tribune in 1984.

Tom found that humor was his lifeline during his tumultuous upbringing. He used it to gain acceptance each time he switched schools.

“I used to be a nerd and a spaz. I was painfully, excruciatingly shy. I was also the kid who would simultaneously blurt out witty captions during filmstrips. But I kept out of trouble,” Tom said. “I was a really good kid and quite responsible growing up.”

Tom began taking drama classes in high school after being intrigued by a school play.

“I had no idea that acting was even an option until then,” he admitted. “I had more fun than I ever could have imagined.”

After graduating from California State University, Sacramento, Tom spent three years at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. The young actor felt prepared for the next chapter after immersing himself in the world of classical theater.

When Tom first relocated to New York in 1979, he landed a role in “He Knows You’re Alone,” a low-budget “hack and slash” movie filmed entirely on Staten Island. Despite receiving predominantly negative reviews, the film proved to be a financial success and opened up numerous opportunities for Tom, who was 24 at the time.

Tom initially garnered attention from Hollywood and critics with his appearance in the 1980 sitcom “Bosom Buddies,” but many consider his breakthrough moment to be his role in the Ron Howard-directed fantasy romantic comedy “Splash.”

He subsequently starred in “Turner and Hooch” and “Sleepless in Seattle” before clinching back-to-back Oscars and Golden Globes for his leading roles in “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” in 1994 and 1995.

When Tom Hanks began his acting career, he was married to American actress Samantha Lewes. They tied the knot when Tom was just 21 years old, and their family expanded rapidly.

Their son, actor Colin Hanks, was born in 1978, followed by their daughter Elizabeth in 1982.

Initially, Tom and Samantha shared a deep love and had much in common, as Samantha had experienced divorce herself. Tom noted that his wife “had stories about having parents with lots of marriages and divorce and all that can even beat mine. We are both incredibly pragmatic. We are aware that our marriage could end at any moment; in fact, it nearly did,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1984.

After nine years of marriage, Tom and Samantha made the difficult decision to divorce. Given their challenging childhoods, the choice to end their marriage was particularly tough. Tom struggled through a dark period and attended therapy three times a week to combat his negative thoughts. Looking back, he describes his divorce as “a tremendously traumatic time loaded with emotion and unpleasant feelings.”

Tom initially felt like he had failed as a father, but his perspective shifted after meeting Rita Wilson, who would later become his wife.

Initially, he was hesitant about entering into a serious relationship with another woman so soon after his divorce. Hanks opened up about his feelings for Rita during an interview with the “So Many White Guys” podcast.

“We got married, we made a commitment to one another, we adore one another, and we diligently work on our relationship… Not only do we love each other, but we also really like each other, enjoy spending time together, supporting one another, and maintaining open lines of communication. That is always crucial.”

When Wilson received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2015, it posed one of the toughest challenges for their relationship. Fortunately, doctors caught it early, allowing her to receive treatment. Throughout this ordeal, Tom Hanks stood by her side unwaveringly.

Regrettably, this wasn’t Tom’s first encounter with cancer. His ex-wife, Samantha, passed away at the young age of 50 after battling bone cancer.

Thankfully, Tom himself has never had cancer. However, he does grapple with another condition that has plagued him for quite some time.

This condition is challenging to diagnose because it doesn’t manifest visible symptoms.

The “silent” illness has hindered Tom’s career, causing him to pass up on certain opportunities that required significant physical changes or specific dietary restrictions. Symptoms of the disease first surfaced for the Hollywood star in the early 1990s, but he had no idea what it was.

After undergoing examinations and tests, physicians eventually provided Tom with a diagnosis. In 2013, he openly shared his diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

During an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, the 66-year-old actor disclosed that he had diabetes mellitus, a condition characterized by the body’s inadequate production of insulin or its improper response to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Failure to adjust lifestyle and habits to accommodate type 2 diabetes can lead to severe and potentially fatal consequences.

Approximately 37 million Americans, or one in ten, are affected by diabetes, with 90 to 95 percent of them having type 2 diabetes. Tom, however, expressed surprise upon receiving his diagnosis.

Due to the absence of symptoms in many individuals with type 2 diabetes at the onset, the media often refer to the condition as a silent killer.

“I went to the doctor, who informed me that I had been dealing with elevated blood sugar levels since I was 36.” “Congratulations! You have type 2 diabetes, young man,” Hanks recalled.

Tom’s doctors had previously cautioned him about the possibility of having pre-diabetes. However, he continued with his usual routine, disregarding the warning signs. Tom felt foolish when the diagnosis was confirmed.

“I thought I could cheat the system by removing the buns from my cheeseburgers,” he told Radio Times.

“Well, it turns out, it takes a bit more than that, I suppose.”

The primary factors contributing to his condition are his lifestyle choices and his family’s history of diabetes. His genetic predisposition meant that indulging in whatever he desired wasn’t exactly conducive to his health.

Tom elaborated, “I belong to the American generation that has been carelessly navigating through life and now finds itself grappling with an illness.”

“I was significantly overweight. You’ve seen me in movies, so you know what I looked like. I was not making wise choices.”

Despite doctors’ advice to maintain his teenage weight and shed some pounds to potentially put the illness in remission, the beloved actor remained doubtful. “I mean, I’m going to get type 2 diabetes because I can’t weigh what I weighed in high school,” he chuckled.

However, since his interview with David Letterman in 2013, there seems to have been a significant shift. Recent photos of Hanks depict a noticeable change. In May 2022, Tom graced the red carpet at Cannes to promote his new Elvis film.

Many of Tom’s fans have commented on his impressive appearance and noticeable weight loss. It seems evident that he has shed some pounds!

The 66-year-old appears to be diligent in maintaining his weight, and he also puts in the effort to exercise to help manage his blood sugar levels.

“I try to get in one hour of activity every day,” he shared on the ‘Sooo Many White Guys’ podcast. “It could be anything from using a treadmill to going for a walk or hike with a dog, but it’s one hour every single day.”