Spike Lee Recalls Leaving His Date After Being Captivated by His Future Wife: 'Time Stopped'

Lee and his wife Tanya Lewis Lee have been married since 1993.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images for Netflix

It wasn't love at first sight when Spike Lee was on a date with someone in 1992. Instead, the Do the Right Thing director had eyes for a woman he saw in passing that night, his future wife, Tanya Lewis Lee.

The filmmaker was a recent guest on the Kelly Corrigan Wonders podcast. At the 22-minute mark of the episode, Lee recalled meeting his film and television producer wife in September 1992. The encounter, which happened one year before the Lees married, took place at the Congressional Black Caucus, where a trailer screening was held for the biographical drama, Malcolm X.

"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."

He continued, "I said, ‘Damn!’ And so later on, she said the same thing. So we just looked at each other and then couldn't see [each other] anymore."

Shortly after Lee introduced the trailer, he and his date were riding the escalator in the opposite direction as Lewis Lee when Lee made an excuse to introduce himself to her. However, Lee admitted that the couple have different recollections of their first meeting.

"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," he said. "So I make a U-turn, go back on the escalator and find her and ask her for, you know, her number."

Lee then invited his soon-to-be wife as his date to the launch party for Madonna's NSFW coffee table book, Sex, but as Lewis Lee was working at a law firm at the time, "everyone" in her office had seen them together.

The Lees, who share two children, have been married for 31 years.

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