Spike Lee Reveals Unique First Meeting and First Date with His Wife Tonya

Spike Lee shared the unconventional first date he invited his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, to more than 30 years ago.

During a recent interview on the Kelly Corrigan Wonders podcast, the Oscar winner, 67, recalled how he first met his wife, 58, in September 1992 and then revealed their unconventional first date.

The two met in Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Black Caucus, said Lee, clarifying that the event was screening a trailer for his film Malcolm X. Lewis Lee went on behalf of her father, who was the treasurer of Philip Morris at the time.

“So I had a date that night,” Lee began. “So I’m going to the restroom and I see this woman coming to me — and I know it might sound corny, but it’s true — time stopped.”

“I said, ‘Damn!’ [Laughs] And so later on, she said the same thing. So we just looked at each other and then couldn’t see [each other] anymore,” the Do The Right Thing director recalled. 

Spike Lee and wife Tonya Lewis Lee on March 22, 1998 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty


“So the night is going on. You know, I’m there, I got to introduce the trailer for Malcolm X,” Lee said. “And it’s time to go, so we’re leaving — Tonya has her version, I have my version, and there’s the real version …”

“You know what Tonya’s not here, so you tell your version,” Corrigan quipped.

“I’m going down the escalator, and she’s going up the escalator,” Lee continued. “So I’m going down the escalator, I gotta think quick. So tell the person I’m with, ‘I think I left my Montblanc pen upstairs,’ you know, something like that.” 

“So I make a U-turn, go back on the escalator and find her and ask her for, you know, her number,” revealed Lee. He then explained that he called her later that week, and he invited her as his date to “Madonna’s Sex book party,” which was not going to be in Washington.

The director explained that Lewis Lee was working at a law firm at the time. When she headed back to Washington D.C., “everyone” in her office had seen her on the news “at the book party,” Lee recalled, joking how she “was busted.”

Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 12, 2021 in Cannes, France.

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis/Getty


Meanwhile, according to Lewis Lee, the director spotted her in the crowd and approached her, showing his interest through a series of questions.

“We walked past each other. Spike circled back around and proceeded to give me the third degree,” she previously said, per Essence. “‘Are you an actress? A model? A singer? Who are you here with? What do you do? Do you have a boyfriend?'”

Within weeks, the filmmaker and lawyer were photographed at Lee’s Malcolm X movie premiere in November 1992.

Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 09, 2021 in Cannes, France.

Lionel Hahn/Getty 


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The couple then married just a year after their first meeting, on Oct. 2, 1993, in a church in New York City.

The pair share two children, Satchel, 29, and Jackson, 23.

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