During an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Washington remembered how Boseman’s girlfriend at the time, Simone Ledward, attended to him on the set of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” He had insisted that the two marry, and the pair would go on to get engaged and wed prior to Boseman’s death on Aug. 28.
“Certain members of his team knew,” Washington said. “His wife was there — they weren’t even married yet. I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him, I said, ‘Man, you need to put a ring on that finger.’ Because she kept her eye on him, and she watched him, and I’m like, ‘Man, she loves that guy.’ But I didn’t know what we know now.”
Unbeknownst to Washington, he was producing what would be Boseman’s last film. The actor said Boseman concealed his struggle with colon cancer well during filming, leaving him and others on the set unaware of his condition.
“Well, credit to him,” Washington said. “He kept it to himself; it was nobody’s business. He was there to deliver, and he delivered.”
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, director George C. Wolfe recalled a moment where Boseman was suddenly overcome with emotion and Ledward was immediately by his side. It was a scene in which his character Levee was questioning the beliefs of Colman Domingo’s character, Cutler.
“We were doing it in a very casual way, and I assumed that when Levee got to the big speech that Chadwick was going to stop. But he didn’t stop. He kept going, and Levee took over — it was raw and explosive,” Wolfe said.
“Afterwards, Chadwick just started to sob, and Colman hugged him, and then Chadwick’s girlfriend basically picked him up.”
Boseman died after a prolonged battle with colon cancer at the age of 43.
Washington first met Boseman at the New York City premiere of “Black Panther” in 2018, years after Washington secretly paid for Boseman and some of his Howard University classmates to join an acting program at England’s Oxford University.
Washington said, “Who knew he didn’t have much life left? But he didn’t get cheated. We did,” according to Entertainment Tonight.
“I pray for his poor wife and his family; they got cheated. But he lived a full life,” he added.
In a statement released a day after his death, Washington said, “He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman.”