Viola Davis and other celebrity couples get real in 'Black Love' documentary

PHOTO: Viola Davis and Julius Tennon on "Black Love."Courtesy of OWN
Viola Davis and Julius Tennon on "Black Love."

Viola Davis is pulling back the velvet curtains of her 14-year marriage to Julius Tennon.

The Oscar winner, in hilarious detail by the way, recounts how the two met, their first date, and the biggest lessons they've learned during their marriage in OWN's new docu-series, "Black Love," premiering tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

"I was terrified because he told me exactly who he was," Davis says in episode one, titled "Where Love Begins." "He was absolutely honest about his past."

Davis and Tennon are joined by everyday couples, along with other celebrity twosomes such as Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, Vanessa Bell and Anthony Calloway, and Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Cory Hardwick, in the four-episode series.

Newlywed Codie Oliver, who created "Black Love" with her husband, filmmaker Tommy Oliver, was inspired to create a documentary about celebrity black love in 2007.

"There was this narrative in the media of a 'black marriage crisis' and especially that black women were the most alone," Oliver told ABC News. "I felt the headlines were very damaging. It felt like the media was telling me I can't do it, and the divorce rate is high, so what's the point?"

Oliver, who wed in 2015, less than a year after meeting her husband at the Toronto Film Festival, said she saw the zeitgeist around black love shift once President Barack Obama was elected the following year. The former president was often in headlines for openly being affectionate with his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama.

"It was very clear that we needed to see that," she said. "I felt seeing is believing."

Oliver said one of her favorite moments in the docu-series was when Davis, 52, described when she finally admitted to her husband that she had bad credit.

"I was so nervous until I had finally told him, 'Julius I have bad credit,'" the "How to Get Away With Murder" actress recalls in an episode. "He said, 'I knew your black a-- had bad credit from the moment I met you. But that’s alright I got good credit. We can use up my credit.'"

It was really important to show the clumsiness of relationships.

Oliver said she and her husband loved the story because it was "funny" but also "super real."

"Because there’s all kinds of awkward conversations that you don’t want to have. You don't want to deal with that stuff but they’re real and they’re necessary if you’re going to partner with someone for life," Oliver explained.

"You student loan debt is important. Your credit score is important...just as important if you drink a lot, or if you are messy," the filmmaker continued. "These things will come to light. You have to talk to your partner about these uncomfortable things."

Oliver said the couples' authenticity is why viewers will appreciate "Black Love," which also features same-sex couples and interracial couples.

"It was really important to show the clumsiness of relationships," she explained, along with tackling "the things that basically could’ve broken them completely and...the greatest lessons that they’ve learned that will help them and others make it through the long haul."

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