In the October issue of Essence, cover girl Viola Davis says she prayed for a certain type of man to come into her life – and just like that, he appeared.

“I asked for a husband who was emotionally available, someone who was older, someone who maybe had a family before,” she says. “I like older men. Someone from the South. Someone who loves God more than he loves himself.”

Next thing you know…

“I met my husband three and a half weeks later, an ex-football player from Austin, Texas,” says Davis, 48. “On one our first dates, he took me to church.”

Davis and actor Julius Tennon were married in 2003. They adopted a daughter, Genesis, in 2011.

Davis has spoken before about how her husband has encouraged her not to wear her wigs outside her professional life – and says now that taking off the wig is a powerful act.

“I had to defend myself as an artist, but I found myself defending myself as a dark-skinned black woman in front of people who did not know my life,” she says. “I took my wig off because I no longer wanted to apologize for who I am.”

The October issue of Essence hits newsstands Friday. via