Will Smith. biography
Born Willard Christopher Smith Jr. on September 25, 1968, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Will Smith first began rapping and using his quick-wit to escape confrontation at the age of 16, a trade that attracted the likes of Jeff Townes and eventually led to the creation of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince.
Separating themselves from the violent themes popularized through rap music, the two jumpstarted their music careers with their debut swear-free album Rock the House (1987) and its lead single “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” which peaked at number 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and turned Will into an overnight millionaire.
The two’s success continued to expand with the release of their Grammy Award-winning album He’s the DJ (1988) followed by their next albums And In This Corner . . . (1989), Homebase (1991) and Code Red (1993).
During this time, Will made his acting debut as the lead character in the TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990), a role that officially put him on Hollywood’s radar and led to his critically praised performance in the dramedy Six Degrees of Separation (1993). He continued to establish himself as a comedic actor with memorable performances in Michael Bay’s action comedy Bad Boys (1995) opposite Martin Lawrence, the sci-fi blockbuster hit Independence Day (1996) and alongside Tommy Lee Jones in the sci-fi comedy Men in Black (1997).
That same year, Will released his debut solo album Big Willie Style for which he received three American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Album. The album further increased his popularity and resulted in Will taking home the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance (“Men in Black”) and Best Rap Solo Performance (“Getting’ Jiggy Wit It”) in 1999. His follow-up album Willennium (1999) found similar success with its lead single “Wild Wild West” reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Tapping into his serious side, Will made his way back to the big-screen in the drama thriller Enemy of the Sate (1998) with Gene Hackman and later the sport drama The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000). The following year, Will made his presence known with his critically acclaimed portrayal of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali (2001) for which he received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
In the early 2000s, Will revisited his comedic roots in Men in Black II (2002) and Bad Boys II (2003) prior to tapping into the sci-fi genre with his role in Isaac Asimov’s film adaptation of I, Robot, as a paranoid cop investigating a suicide in a robot-friendly world on the brink of a robot takeover, which grossed more than $144 million nationwide. Also during this time, Will released his next albums Born to Reign (2002) and Lost and Found (2005).
In 2005, Will switched gears to play a womanizer and dating consultant in the romantic comedy Hitch alongside Kevin James and Eva Mendes. The film was a hit, followed by the even more successful drama The Pursuit of Happiness. Will’s captivating performance as a single poor father who works his way up from nothing, opposite his son Jayden Smith, earned him a second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 2007.
Financial success soon followed with his roles in the remake of Charlton Heston’s Omega Man, titled I Am Legend (2007), the drama Seven Pounds (2008) and the superhero flick Hancock (2008).
Aside from acting, Will has expanded his reach in the entertainment industry by producing a number of films, including the crime drama Lakeview Terrace (2008), the drama The Secret Life of Bees (2008), the family drama The Karate Kid (2010), starring his son Jaden Smith, the action comedy This Means War (2012), the sci-fi film After Earth (2013), I am Legend 2 (unknown release date), Hancock 2 (unknown), Karate Kid 2 (unknown) and the TV series Latifah (2013).
Will’s most recent acting projects include, Men in Black 3 (2012), After Earth (2013) opposite Jaden Smith, the fantasy flick Winter’s Tale (2013) alongside Russell Crowe, I, Robot 2 (unknown), Hancock 2 (unknown) and Bad Boys 3 (unknown).
Will Smith Wife, Girlfriend, Boyfriend & Dating History Timeline
1991 – 1995
After dating for a year, Will and Sheree Zampino got hitched in 1992. The couple had a son together, Willard “Trey” Smith III (11 November 1992), but they couldn’t make it last. After the two divorced, Will admitted that they got married too young and too fast.
1995 – Present
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will first met when Jada auditioned for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1990. Although she didn’t land the part, the two became good friends. After he ended his marriage with Sheree Zampino and Jada dumped her longtime boyfriend in 1995, the two wasted little time starting their own romantic relationship. In 1996, Jada expressed her view on their relationship:
“I helped him understand what happened in his marriage and he helped me see what happened in my relationship. He’s become my best friend. There’s nothing I can’t say to him, nothing I can’t share.”
The two got hitched at Baltimore’s Cloisters Mansion on December 31, 1997, and went on to welcome their son Jaden Christopher Syre Smith (8 July 1998) and daughter Willow Camille Reign Smith (31 October 2000).
Is Will Smith Gay?
When Will Smith played a homosexual con artist in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), rumors that he was gay sprung into action. Like many other actors, taking on a controversial gay character almost always leads to allegations whether it’s true or not.
Will’s character was set to have a love scene with another man, but more some reason, the star opted out of it. His character was also expected to make out with one of his Caucasian co-stars, but after saying no, the director relied on trick camera angles to make it seem as if they were kissing. Although separating himself from the actual love scenes, Will’s sexuality was still put into question.
Even after getting married to actress Jada Smith in 1997, the speculations remained. Rumors that the two had an open “down-low relationship” immediately began spreading around the entertainment world in part of Will’s longtime “bromance” with fellow actor Duane Martin. The relationship has raised many eyebrows in the past, but intensified in May 2012 when Star magazine inferred that the two were taking too many trips together, including an alleged private cruise in Trinidad. An eyewitness suggested that the duo dined at a Trinidad restaurant on February 24, saying, “it was clear Will and Duane both arrived and left together.”
According to a separate source, Jada is disgusted with Will because he’s “taking him on exotic vacations while she’s sitting home alone.” She supposedly “can’t stand [his] relationship with Duane” and suggests that he “flaunts it in her face.”
The momentum of the rumors continues to pick up each year, all of which focus on the speculation that their marriage is coming to an end. An undisclosed source later told Star magazine that the Smiths’ marriage is “Completely fractured . . . It’s only a matter of time until one of them makes the split official and files for divorce.”
Unable to ignore the nasty article, Duan’s wife Tisha Campbell-Martin refuted the rumors via Twitter, writing, “Usually I ignore negativity but I’m tired of the media attacking TheSmiths. They’re n amazing couple n I wish ppl wld stop perpetuatin LIES N LEAVE THEM ALONE!”
Duan has also been the center of gay rumors, even though he has been married to Tisha for over 15 years.
In hopes of squashing the divorce rumors, Jada confronted the gossip, telling Essence magazine in September of 2012, “It seems like that happens at least once a year, or at least once every two years. It’s rumored that we’re getting a divorce. But no. We’re not getting a divorce. Where am I gonna go? Where am I going to go? That’s my boo. It’s like he’s another part of me.”
They went on to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary in December of that year, but the question still remains, is he or isn’t he?
Did You Know . . .
- Will met wife Jada Pinkett Smith when she tried out for the role of his girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990). The role eventually went to Nia Long.
- Will based his character Captain Steven Hiller in Independence Day (1996) on his favorite big screen hero, Harrison Ford, most notably for his performance as Han Solo in the Star Wars series.
- Will's siblings are: Pam Smith (born in 1964), and twins Ellen and Harry Smith (born in 1971).
- Will won a Grammy Award for the song "Summertime" during his rap career.
- Will received the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, for the song "Parents Just Don't Understand" in 1989 with his partner Jeffrey A. Townes (aka Jazzy Jeff).
- Will enjoys playing chess.
- Will was chosen by People magazine as one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” .
- As a public role model, Will hosted the Presidential Inaugural Celebration for Youth, as part of the Gala for President Bill Clinton. [January 1993]
- Will graduated of Philly's legendary Overbrook High School, whose alumni include Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Lear, Wali 'Wonder' Jones, Walt Hazzard, The Dovells, The Orlons, DeeDee Sharp, etc. and, in tribute to his student years there, his production company is called Overbrook Entertainment.
- Will attended the prestigious Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia.
- Will turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix (1999).
- Will was the first hip-hop artist to be nominated for an Academy Award.
- Wills speaks fluent Spanish.
- Will was ranked #2 on Star TV's “Top Ten Box Office Stars of the 1990s.”
- Will was dropped from Columbia Records as an artist after lackluster sales of his third solo album, which was self-titled, and his greatest hits compilation. [Summer 2003]
- Will incorporates the line "Aw, hell no!" into all his movies as a running catch phrase like Arnold Schwarzenegger's "I'll be back!"
- Will was ranked #15 in TV Guide's list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (23 January 2005 issue).
- Will gained a place in the Guinness World Records book for most public appearances in 12 hours, by attending three red carpet "premieres" for Hitch on February 22, 2005. He walked the red carpet and introduced the film at Manchester, Birmingham, and finally for the premiere in London, England.
- Will once stated that in his whole career, he most regrets turning down the part of Neo in The Matrix (1999) and the film that he most regrets making was Wild Wild West (1999).
- Will has been at his adult height of 6' 2" since he was 13, although he is now about 60 pounds heavier.
- Will hosted the MTV Movie Awards in 1994.
- Will was considered for the role of Mr. Smith in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) before Brad Pitt was cast.
- Will is supposedly a huge fan of the Swedish well-known (but barely known in the U.S.) melodic heavy metal band Soilwork.
- Will was raked #66 in VH1's 100 greatest Teen Stars.
- Will holds the record for most Kids Choice Awards with a whopping six wins.
- Will was ranked #14 on Premiere magazine's 2006 "Power 50" list. Had ranked #18 in 2005. He is the second-highest ranked actor, behind only Tom Cruise.
- Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were forced to leave their home in California because a bush fire threatened to destroy it and several other houses in the same area. [October 2005]
- Will’s 1995 divorce from ex-wife Sheree Fletcher led to a $900,000 lump sum divorce settlement plus $24,000 per month in alimony and child support - a total amount of $288,000 a year.
- In the 1998 rap lyrics of "Gettin' Jiggy", Will says that Muhammad Ali would call him "The Greatest." Two and a half years later, he played the title role in Ali (2001).
- Will’s character from Men in Black (1997), Agent Jay, was not originally written to specifically be a black man. In fact, the role was offered to Caucasian actors Chris O'Donnell and David Schwimmer before Smith accepted the part.
- Will was among the guests at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's wedding ceremony in Italy.
- Will was ranked #30 on VH1's 50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists along with DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
- Will ranked #29 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
- In 2007, Will was ranked #5 on EW's The 50 Smartest People in Hollywood.
- According to Forbes, for each dollar he got paid, Smith's movies averaged $10 of gross income.
- Will was a millionaire before the age of 20.
- In 2004, Will’s net worth was estimated to be $188 million.
- Will’s huge fan of Professional Wrestling.
- Will is often called "Mr. July" by the media due to the fact that most of his summer blockbusters open in July.
- Since Hancock (2008), he holds the record for the actor to star in the most consecutive $100 million-grossing movies with a total of eight.
- Will and his daughter Willow Smith both had movies opening on July 2, 2008; Hancock (2008) and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008).
- Will has appeared in two films starting with the word "I", I, Robot (2004) and I Am Legend (2007).
- Will wrote and performed the song "Just the Two of Us" for his first son Trey Smith.
- Will was considered for the role of Detective James Carter in Rush Hour (1998), but it ultimately went to Chris Tucker.
- Will was in consideration for the part of Curtis Taylor Jr in Dreamgirls (2006). Jamie Foxx was cast instead.
- Will’s birth card is the Queen of Hearts.
- Will is the brother-in-law of Caleeb Pinkett.
- Will has solved Rubik's cubes in both The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Pursuit of Happiness - a real talent of his that he displayed on live TV by solving it in less than 55 seconds.
- Will’s favorite movie is The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957).