Earlier this year, actress Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks's wife of 27 years, mother of their children Chester and Truman, and stepmother to Tom's elder two, Colin and Elizabeth, announced she'd had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery following a scare with breast cancer.
She is now sure she has beaten the disease, saying she feels 'blessed' to have had the love and support of her family and friends throughout the difficult time.
The important thing, Hanks reiterates firmly, is that Rita is now doing fine.
"What has been so amazing about it is how powerfully it plays out in a relatively short period of time," he says, wincing as he recalls the sequence of events.
Hanks is smiling and as genial as ever, casual in a dark blue corduroy jacket over a blue shirt and jeans, a baseball cap jammed jauntily on his head. But he is looking all of his 59 years and the lines between his eyes speak a year's worth of worry.
"We all know by now what hell that sort of health crisis is," he says.
"It just comes along out of the blue and everything else stops because the only thing to do is to drop everything else and pay attention to myriad stuff that needs to be attended to.
"Rita found out last December. That meant Christmas and New Year was a completely different version of how it had been on any year before, and now here we are a year later and she seems to be out of it.
"Rita and I are lucky because we can afford the best healthcare in the world, we knew that blessing right off, but while it was happening, all I could do was bow down before the courage of my wife."
Then his face darkens.
"One thing I have noticed through this," he says, heavily, "is that there are people out there in the world who, when they find out you have a certain illness, particularly cancer, they will immediately try to make money off you.
"They do this by pushing some procedures that might have a degree of science to them that might make them accurate, and some others that are complete quackery.
"Like anything from saying, 'Go to some clinic in Bolivia and they'll cure you', or 'Just go on a diet of peach stones' or something crazy. These people are just trying to make money from the illness and they only add to the difficulty of what is already going on because they are dealing in false hopes. It is astounding the amount of that that goes on. They're predators."
Hanks nods, cheering up a little.
"But God bless my wife - and her courage. We're very lucky."
He and Rita are known to be one of the happiest couples in Hollywood. His first marriage, to the late actress Samantha Lewes, was reportedly acrimonious: Tom was 21 and barely making a living when their son Colin was born and it has been reported that life in the first Hanks home was not always calm.
"People say that relationships are difficult," he once said to me, drily, "but the way I see it is; if they're that difficult, then maybe you're in the wrong relationship!"
Certainly, when Hanks took the part of a playboy in the 1985 comedy film The Volunteers, and met his co-star, a darkly attractive Greek-American actress with warm brown eyes, a friendly smile, and a laidback attitude, he knew he had found someone special.
Nearly three decades later, it is clear Rita is still special to him: "I'm not stupid and I'm not going to walk away from someone as great as my wife because nothing is going to get any better than what I have."
The examples he had of marriage when he was growing up were far from reassuring. His father Amos, an itinerant cook, and his mother Janet, a hospital worker, divorced when Tom, the third of their four children, was only five.
Both parents went on afterwards to a dizzying number of remarriages, most of which also ended in divorce.
"My parents," Hanks likes to joke, "pioneered the marriage dissolution laws for the State of California."
He and his siblings were shuttled between his mother's home in northern California, and wherever his father happened to be working (and whoever he happened to be living with) at any given time.
"I never kept toys for very long," he once told me.
"They just kind of disappeared in a closet of whichever house we were leaving at two in the morning with my Dad upset at the woman he was married to. I remember, when I was seven, leaving a little cardboard fold-up moving van that I had made two nights before when my Dad's second marriage blew up.
"The leaving part was kind of fun at the time. I was seven years old, we were thrown into the car to be driven somewhere at nighttime, and it was really exciting until, 'Oh, wait, I forgot my moving van'. But there was no turning back to get it, so it stayed there, disappeared."
Still, Hanks insists that his childhood was a more or less happy one: "We always had benevolent grown-ups around us in that they were not cruel, they were just confused.
"My Dad was not a bad guy, he was a good guy but look at his life: he grows up in the Great Depression, at a time where if you get the flu you could die. He graduates from high school and the next thing he knew he was wearing a naval uniform and being bombed in the South Pacific.
"And then he comes home from that and - boom - he's married with four kids, trying to make ends meet and he's not getting along with the lady he's married to.
"Then after he and my mom split up, he was so busy in this hellacious job of running restaurants and being a cook and getting mad at his employers and quitting and driving somewhere else and taking up another job and getting married and getting unmarried along the way, that the moments when he was actually relaxed and at peace were quite frankly few and far between.
"I grew up with a lot of freedom and a lot of coming and going, and my dad was not a mystery to me, as some men's dad's are, but he was also not an ongoing constant, steady, presence either."
Hanks says he has been determined to be there for his children from the beginning.
"As soon as you begin to create children, something rewrites itself. I'm not a brave man, I'm not even brave enough to go backpacking by myself, but the only times in which I have ponied up to the moment were the times when I said: 'Yeah, let's have kids'."
The life of an actor, particularly that of one as successful as Hanks, is far from regular, but he says that for his children, Dad's job is the norm.
"My wife knew what to expect when she married me but my kids grew up with a dad who had this strange job that was often defined by the weird haircut he was wearing or whether or not he had a dyed moustache at any given time.
"Yes, Dad sometimes goes away, but then Dad comes home and hangs around doing nothing for what seems like a very long time.
"To them, I'm just their idiot dad who's done some good things and done some bad things like any other dad, and drove them to school whenever I could.
"One thing I learned from my childhood is that there is no substitute for being there with your kids during the day and being there to make them breakfast before school."
His children are grown up now; Colin, 37, is a successful actor of whom Tom now jokes proudly: 'I'm in competition with my son!'; Elizabeth, 31, is a writer and literary editor; Chester is an up-and-coming rapper under the name of Chet Haze, who has bravely gone public with his struggles with drug addiction; and Truman, 20, is still at college.
Hanks is on cinema screens in Bridge Of Spies, a thriller directed by his old friend Steven Spielberg, set in Berlin during the time of the Cold War. He plays an insurance lawyer recruited by the CIA to defend British-born Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance).
"It's the third time I've been lucky enough to make a movie in Berlin," he says, "and it's one of the most exciting cities in the world.
"I love working with Steven, too. We have the sort of connection that, one evening, I can be looking at a piece of dialogue for the scene we're going to be shooting the next day, and I put a big circle around a piece of it that I think just doesn't work, and I go to bed quite worried because the next day I have to walk up to Steven Spielberg and say: 'Hey, listen, this piece here is such horses**t I can't bring myself to say it: fire me'."
"And the next morning I'll show him the page and he'll say: 'Funny you mentioned that, I was thinking the same thing'."
Back at the warm and welcoming house that he and Rita share in the exclusive beach community of Pacific Palisades, Hanks says he is still making breakfast for whoever of the family is around.
"I make a really good breakfast," he says.
"I am the guy in the house who gets up a little earlier than everyone else and says, 'I'm going to make some French toast and chocolate chip pancakes for everybody,' and somehow that turns into a frittata, with some turkey, bacon, juice, and different types of coffees and cereals."
Hanks says he won't be eating any of the sweeter items on the menu, since a couple of years ago he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
"I'm lucky they found out," he says.
"I'd been aware of having high blood sugars for over 15 years now, and they say: 'OK, your blood sugars are high. OK, now you are officially pre-diabetic. Hey, guess what, now you officially have type 2 diabetes'."
"You hear that, you get serious. I've changed the way I eat and I've changed the way I exercise.
"I surely won't be taking on any film where they want me to gain 60lb - they can find a younger man. After all, I've got knees I don't want to blow out and grandkids I want to see grow up."
Not to mention a healthy wife to head into the sunset with.
- Daily Mail