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Tom Hanks rejected this great rom-com for a very ironic reason

In the 80s Tom Hanks was the king of comedy movies and Meg Ryan his queen but something ironic stopped them making the best rom-com of all time together.

Tom Hanks in the rom-com Sleepless in Seattle

When it comes to rom-coms, Tom Hanks has one of the most impressive resumes in Hollywood. Still, did you know that Tom Hanks actually turned down the lead in what many consider the best rom-com of all time? That’s right. We’re talking about When Harry Met Sally…


So why did Hanks turn down one of the greatest romance movies ever made (And arguably one of the best movies of all time)? Well, it’s because he was going through a divorce, of course. Yes, you read that right Hanks was in the middle of divorcing his first wife, Samantha Lewes, and apparently, he couldn’t have been happier about it.

As such, he couldn’t empathize with the character of Harry, and the role ultimately went to Billy Crystal, or at least that’s what Rita Wilson (Hanks’s current wife) claimed while appearing on the iHeart Podcast, Table for Two.

“People probably don’t know this, but Tom was offered When Harry Met Sally…,” Wilson explained. “He turned it down because he was going through a divorce, and he was very happy to be not married. So he could not understand that a person going through a divorce would have anything other than just like, ‘I’m so happy.'”

Hanks wasn’t the only famous face who turned down the role of Harry. Richard Dreyfuss, Michael Keaton, and Albert Brooks were all offered the part, but each of them turned it down. Thankfully it all worked out for the best.

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Crystal and his co-star Meg Ryan have undeniable chemistry in the film, and it’s hard to imagine When Harry Met Sally without its sardonic leading man. We’re not the only ones who think so either; countless contemporary critics applauded Ryan and Crystal’s chemistry.

If you love When Harry Met Sally… check out our list of the best comedy movies of all time, or if you’re after another slice of Hanks, we have an article breaking down the best Tom Hanks movies. Finally, if you just want something fresh, you need to check out our breakdown of all the new movies coming in 2024.