Officials from the Greek government explained in detail on Tuesday the reasons why it extended an offer of citizenship to Tom Hanks in December and also stated that the offer included Hanks’ wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson, and their two sons, Chester and Truman.
The decision, published in a government gazette and co-signed by Greek Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos, says that the Hanks family were offered Greek citizenship in recognition for their help in assisting victims of the deadly wildfires near Athens in July of 2018.
“The Hanks family provided excellent service to Greece, as during the devastating fire which broke out in at the resort of Mati in Attica; they made a decisive contribution to mobilizing and sensitizing the global community to reach out to the tested Greek citizens,” the decision relates.
The statement goes on to say “The Hanks family has given the signal all over the world for immediate relief actions to our fire-stricken fellow citizens, with the announcement of their intention to set up a global charity to raise large sums of money… In addition, the Hanks family, with their continued presence in Antiparos, where they own a home, have contributed to the global tourism promotion of the country.”
Last month, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos signed the honorary naturalization order allowing the 63-year-old American actor, who has spent his recent summer vacations at a family home on the Greek island of Antiparos, to claim Greek citizenship.
Earlier this month, the beloved Hollywood star received the prestigious Cecil B. deMille Award at the 2020 Golden Globes.
Right after accepting the award, Hanks excitedly mentioned the fact that he is now an honorary citizen of Greece, raising some… interesting questions about his new citizenship status.
Replying to Greek Reporter‘s question about how he feels being an honorary citizen of the country, Hanks joked that he did have some questions about it.
”Number one, do I have to serve in the Army? As long as I don’t have to serve in the Army… I’m no good anyway, I’ve got bad knees and I’m an old man,” Hanks noted with good humor.
”Do I have to pay taxes?” was Hanks’ second question, something that comes to everyone’s mind when talking about the responsibilities of a Greek citizen.
”Can I just pay cash and avoid all that stuff?” Hanks asked Greek Reporter’s Anastasios Papapostolou, who laughingly replied ”I don’t know about that!”
The well-regarded American actor noted that it is a great honor becoming a citizen of a country he has loved for so many decades now.
”I’ve been Hellenic now for the better part of 32 years,” Hanks said, referring to the long journey of his life after marrying second wife Rita Wilson, who is of Greek descent on her mother Dorothea’s side.
”Greece is a haven,” he declared at the Cecil B. deMille award ceremony.
”I’ve been around the world, I’ve been in the most beautiful places in the world; none of them tops Greece!” Hanks gushed, showing his unabashed love for the country.
The beloved actor also mentioned the elements of Greece he likes the most. ”The land, the sky, the water, it’s good for the soul, it’s a healing place!” he said.
Hanks explained that he sees the country as a healing place ”Particularly if you get into that fabulous Greek schedule of sleeping until noon, staying up until 3 o’clock in the morning and arguing in the taverna ’till 3 AM!”
”Just the best life one can get!” Hanks declared emphatically.
Hanks became an Orthodox Christian before his second marriage in 1988 to Rita Wilson, who is of Greek and Bulgarian descent.
Hanks, Wilson, and Hollywood producer Gary Goetzman co-produced the blockbuster 2002 romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.