The longtime couple, who share 16-year-old twins, are standing by one another during awards season — and making time to celebrate their own union
Courtney B. Vance and Angela Bassett know that love’s got a lot to do with making their marriage work.
On Sunday, the couple opened up to PEOPLE about the key to their 25-year union at the Critics Choice Awards.
“Talking, communicating and allowing each other to have your own space and then come back together,” Vance, 62, tells PEOPLE. “It’s like a rock band, The Temptations or The Stones or The Eagles.”
“Initially it was about, ‘they made it,’ and then ‘what about my individual glory?’ And ‘I don’t want to get so caught up in the band and talks about going our separate ways.’ And then going, ‘You know what? We’re better together and stronger together,'” adds Vance.
“To see those groups still doing it 30, 40, 50 years later and making even more money is just, it’s a good feeling, the same thing.”
The Emmy Award winner has stood by his 64-year-old wife throughout her career. On Sunday, that included watching her take home the best supporting actress award for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, almost one week after she won the same category at the Golden Globe Awards.
“A lot of times you don’t know that it’ll come back around and I’ve been there, a big supporter, letting her know that, just hang in there,” The People Vs. O.J. Simpson star tells PEOPLE. “Because when it comes around, people know what happened 30 years ago and it didn’t come around for you. They know, and they’ve been waiting for a moment like this to lift you up. So it’ll be even bigger now because they know who you are and they want it more than you want it, if that’s possible.”
Of Vance’s steadfast support, the What’s Love Got to Do with It star says: “It’s great to have someone there in your corner supporting you. It makes the success all the more sweeter. All the more sweeter.”
During the excitement of this awards season, the couple, who share fraternal twins Bronwyn Golden Vance and Slater Josiah Vance, 16, has made sure to have plenty of fun along the way.
In October, they marked their silver wedding anniversary with 250 guests at a “bittersweet” celebration with family and friends.
“It is because, well, nothing can touch the first time,” Vance says. “Your first wedding, it was both of our first weddings and as we said, ‘The first and last.’ But to have lasted and still be so deeply in love and such huge supporters of each other…”
“Now the people who were with you there 25 years ago, some of them aren’t here anymore, so it’s different. It’s very different and bittersweet,” he adds. “But we turned it into an amazing celebration.”
“Oh, we had a great, great party,” adds Bassett. “He did a great job. That was him. I wouldn’t have. He makes it bigger and bigger every time.”