In PEOPLE’s exclusive look at Oprah + Viola.
Viola tells Oprah Winfrey that one of her friends instructed her to pray for the kind of man she wanted.
Because of that, the acclaimed actress says she listed off her desired qualities, which started with asking for “a big Black man.”
“He said, ‘Viola, even the vacuous stuff, just put it all in there. Looks, everything,’” she recalls her friend saying. “I said, ‘Really? With God? I gotta tell him that?’ He’s like, ‘Yes. You gotta put it all out there.’”
Adds Viola, “I went and I got on my knees.”
From there, Viola recalls the list of requirements she gave to God. “I said I want a big Black man from the South who’s probably been married before.
Has kids, because I don’t want any pressure in that department,” she begins.
“Someone whose maybe been an actor who understands the artistic community,” she continues. “Someone who goes to church and loves God.
I said, ‘If you give me that, I’ll start going to church, God. I really will. I’m committed to it.’ And then I signed off, just like writing a letter.”
The Academy Award winner’s prayer soon became a reality.
Viola says she met Julius three and a half weeks later. After tying the knot in 2003, the couple adopted daughter Genesis in 2011. She is also a step-parent to Julius’ two children from past relationships.
“Three and a half weeks later, I met Julius from Texas. … Ex-football player, been married, raised his children on his own, was an actor. [He] invited me to church,” she adds. “And I thought to myself, ‘Whoa.’”
Viola’s conversation with Oprah, 68, is a part of Oprah + Viola: A Netflix Special Event. During this special event, the two A-listers discuss Viola’s new memoir, Finding Me. The chat also leads Viola to open up about her upbringing and how she’s learned to find peace in her life.