Denzel Washington is a two-time Oscar winner, one of the most beloved actors in show business and, on Thursday, he was the guest of honor at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award gala tribute, which celebrated the star’s career, life and legacy.
But for Denzel himself, his biggest achievement in life doesn’t have anything to do with his movies.
The celebrated actor walked the red carpet at the star-studded event held in his honor at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, where he was joined by his wife of 35 years, Pauletta Washington.
ET’s Michael Yo spoke with the pair before the gala event, and asked Denzel what he would consider his biggest lifetime achievement.
The actor turned to his wife, and she smiled as said, “his four children.”
“[Actually] I was pointing to her,” Denzel replied with a smile, nodding at his lady love. “That’s my biggest lifetime achievement.”
The actor also opened up about how it felt to receive the coveted honor from the American Film Institute, and to be the center of attention at a night recognizing his accomplishments.
“I’m humbled, I’m grateful, I’m thankful… I’ve never done this before so I can’t really tell you how I feel,” he admitted. “It doesn’t feel like other times I’m on the red carpet. I’m usually promoting a film or at an award show. [Here] I’ve already won, I guess, so it’s different. It’s relaxed.”
The star-studded gala included appearances and speeches from Spike Lee, director Antoine Fuqua, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Hudson, Mahershala Ali, Michael B. Jordan, Cicely Tyson and Julia Roberts, to name just a few.
However, one of the biggest guests of the evening was Beyonce, who came out to show some love to another honoree of the night, Franklin J. Schaffner Award recipient Melina Matsoukas, who helmed some of the singer’s biggest music videos.
Beyonce’s appearance was a surprise to almost everyone in attendance, including Matsoukas herself, who was shocked by the heartfelt introduction and said during her acceptance speech that she’d “texted [Beyonce] days ago and she didn’t get back to me.”
American Film Institute’s 47th Life Achievement Award Gala airs June 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TNT.