In the last three decades, there might not be a more prolific entertainer than the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith. Since the late ’80s, the man from Philly has seamlessly gone from one business venture to the next. It is safe to say that Will Smith has rarely stumbled in whatever area of the entertainment industry he has worked in. After recently turning 50 years old, Will Smith celebrated the epic milestone in the most exhilarating way imaginable. We’re not only going to run through the defining moments of Smith’s life building up to this amazing moment, but also the finer details that he might not be so keen to talk about.
With undisputed superstar status, Will Smith was loving every minute of his Fresh Prince era. With so much money at such a young age, Smith loved nothing more than the finer things in life, like cars, motorcycles, and designer clothes.
However, the excessive spending would soon catch up with the rapper, and eventually, the IRS took away many of Smith’s luxuries so that he could pay off his $2.8 million tax debt. A very famous man with not much money, Smith needed to think fast…
50 Ridiculous Years
Just recently, Will Smith celebrated his 50th birthday in the most exhilarating way imaginable. Over the years, his career and personal life have taken crazy twists.
His marriage alone is the subject of incredible speculation. Fans no longer have to speculate as he opens up on his life on his birthday.
When you are one of the biggest families in Hollywood, it is inevitable that there will be some wild rumors about you. This is no different as far as the Smiths are concerned.
There are tons of rumors online implying that Will Smith and his family are, for lack of a better term, unorthodox. Not only is there a lot of talk about the nature of Will and wife Jada’s enigmatic relationship, but the media has often questioned their parenting skills…
Are Will & Jada Hiding Something?
Other bizarre rumors surrounding the nature of Will and Jada’s relationship actually pose a threat to the way the general public perceives both stars as individuals. One rumor suggests that the couple are actually in an open relationship.
Jada fueled the rumors when she said the following in an interview with Howard Stern: “At the end of the day, I’m not here to be anybody’s watcher…He’s a grown man…he’s got all the freedom in the world.”
Are They Cheating On Each Other?
Due to the couple’s laidback approach towards their relationship, there have been multiple rumors circulating about Will Smith’s supposed infidelity in recent times. The star was rumored to have had an affair with Margot Robbie when the duo filmed the movie Focus back in 2015.
And it’s not just Will who was suspected to be a cheater. Wife Jada was also linked to Marc Anthony, who she had starred alongside in the show HawthoRNe.
Will Smith and his wife have been consistently scrutinized by the outside world for the way that they bring up their kids. It is well documented that Jaden and Willow Smith are never punished by their parents if they act out of order and in recent times, Will Smith has been vocally regretful about the way he and Jada have raised them.
“I think we might have gone too far,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
Willow’s Strange Ex
When you are a member of one of the richest families in Hollywood, you are bound to mix with some strange people from time to time. Back in 2014, when she was just 13 years old,
Willow Smith stole the headlines when a photo surfaced online of her lying in bed with a topless 20-year-old actor by the name of Moises Arias. “No evidence presented that Willow has ever been in any danger around Moises, or that she has ever been physically or emotionally abused,” an investigator said.
Millionaire At 20
During the late ’80s, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were the names on everyone’s lips. After releasing their breakout hit single “Girls Ain’t Nothing But Trouble,” the duo were regulars on MTV and shook the world of hip-hop with their debut album Rock The House.
After reaching the Billboard Top 200 and eventually being certified Gold, the album propelled Smith and Jeff Townes into superstardom. At just 20 years old, Will Smith was already a millionaire. But the very best was yet to come…
In 1989, just two years after they released their debut album, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were on the verge of making history. With hip-hop and rap finally making their way into the mainstream, the Grammy Awards were just around the corner.
For the first time in its history, the category of Best Rap Song was created and the duo’s hit single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” was one of the nominees. Amazingly, the Philly duo won the Grammy, and the rest was history…
Time For TV
With a lack of motivation after his financial setback, Will Smith’s girlfriend at the time kicked him into gear, advising him to pursue a career in entertainment.
When the rapper appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show, he ended up bumping into a talented producer by the name of Benny Medina, who was the guy who came up with the idea for the iconic show – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. When the pair joined forces with music producer Quincy Jones, this proved to be a recipe for TV success.
Two seasons into The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, and Will Smith was already a household name and he was still in his early 20s.
Smith’s role in the show was so integral that the showrunners named it after his rap alias – The Fresh Prince. Soon enough, the young man from Philly was financially stable once again and eventually started dating a woman by the name of Sheree Zampino. Despite getting married and having a kid together, things were about to get messy…
Not Just The Two Of Us
Ultimately, things didn’t work out between Will Smith and Sheree Zampino. The married couple eventually separated during his time on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.
However, in 1995, Smith ended up meeting Jada Pinkett after she auditioned for the role of his character’s girlfriend. And while she didn’t get the role, the two hit it off instantly. However, there was one outstanding problem getting in the way of their romance: Will was still married to Zampino at the time…
Match Made In Bel Air
Although she looks back on the time and wishes she could have done things a little differently, Jada Pinkett couldn’t control the love she had for Will Smith and vice versa.
Eventually, Smith and Zampino finalized their divorce in 1995 and just two years after that, he tied the knot with Pinkett. It was during this rapid period of change in his personal life that Smith was experiencing many radical changes in his professional one as well…
Moving To The Big Screen
It seemed that Will Smith’s career experienced something of a domino effect, with a number of moments of serendipity pushing the man from Philly from one business venture to the next.
Firstly, he was a rapper, then he was the star of his very own TV show. It only made sense then that Smith would soon try his luck on the big screen. After a couple of roles in minor movies, Smith soon moved on to bigger and better things…
The Holy Trinity
The mid-’90s was a period in Will Smith’s life that clearly demonstrated just how prolific he had become as a Hollywood star. Three movies, in particular, etched his name into Hollywood lore, starting with the popular 1995 crime comedy Bad Boys, which Smith starred in alongside Martin Lawrence.
A year later, Smith landed the lead role in the huge alien blockbuster Independence Day. And finally, in 1997, Smith captured the hearts of millions with the classic sci-fi comedy Men In Black.
Mixing Movies With Music
As time went on, it became clearer and clearer that Will Smith was something of a jack of all trades. Not only could he rap and crack jokes, but he also had serious acting chops. Building up to Men In Black‘s release in 1997, Smith released the hit single “Men In Black,” which reached number one in over 10 different countries.
Just a few years after that, the actor/pop star achieved a similar combination after starring in Wild Wild West and releasing an accompanying hit single.
It seems like Will Smith’s music career came full circle when, at the height of his Hollywood success in the ’90s, he released his solo debut album Big Willie Style.
With a number of classic singles attached to the record such as “Men In Black,” “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” “Just the Two of Us” and “Miami,” Will Smith was once again a force to be reckoned with in the world of music. However, Smith was about to reach a whole new level in the world of acting…
At the turn of the “Willenium,” Will Smith was determined to prove that he had the acting chops to compete with the very best in Hollywood. The rapper-turned-actor got the amazing opportunity to portray the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in the 2001 biopic Ali.
Earning universal acclaim for his performance, Smith was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Then, just five years later, Smith achieved the same thing, this time earning the nomination for his role in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.
One thing is for sure: the 2000s was a fantastic time to be Will Smith, at least as far as acting was concerned. At one point, he was considered to be “the most powerful actor in Hollywood.”
This was in no small part due to the incredible record that he set, starring in 11 back-to-back movies that grossed over $100 million worldwide. From 2002 (Men In Black II) to 2013 (After Earth), everything that Will Smith touched in Hollywood turned to gold.
The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise just how talented Will and Jada’s children Willow and Jaden Smith actually are. The former got a taste of the pop star life at just 10 years of age with her hit single “Whip My Hair.”
On the other hand, Jaden has certainly followed in his father’s Hollywood footsteps, starring in movies such as The Pursuit of Happyness and After Earth, both of which he starred in alongside his dad.
Losing Uncle Phil
For over half a decade, James Avery played Uncle Phil, the father figure in Will Smith’s character’s life on the show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The actor left a huge impression on Smith long after the series came to an end.
When Avery passed away in 2014, it was clear that Smith was devastated by the loss, as if he had lost a family member. “Some of the greatest lessons…came through James Avery,” Smith wrote. “Every young man needs an Uncle Phil.”
Back To Music
Ever since releasing his last album back in 2005, diehard fans were wondering if Will Smith would ever return to the studio to create some new music. However, when the Fresh Prince shocked the world with his World Cup anthem “Live It Up,” it was a clear indicator that Smith might be making a rap comeback very soon.
“You get to a point where you get empty,” he said. “So I’m excited, I’m re-energized and I’m creating wildly like I used to.”
He’s Going To Be The Genie
In the last 30 years of his life, Will Smith has hardly ever taken a break. Whether it be his time on TV, the big screen, or in the studio, the Fresh Prince has always seemed to be working on some sort of project.
Now, at 50 years of age, it doesn’t look like the superstar is like slowing down anytime soon. One of Smith’s next big endeavors will see him play the iconic Genie character in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s classic Aladdin.
Jaden’s A Criminal?
Willow Smith isn’t the only child of Will and Jada who has been romantically involved with questionable individuals. Back in 2015, Jaden Smith was dating social media personality Sarah Snyder and the relationship lasted for two years.
However, Snyder nearly got Jaden into a lot of trouble when she was arrested for third-degree larceny. It was suspected that Snyder had entered a store and stolen a Hermes handbag worth a staggering $15,995.
More Than Friends?
Not long after Jada Pinkett Smith was rumored to have a side-guy, sources claimed that her husband, Will, was the one having an affair. According to Star magazine, Smith had an alleged ‘romantic’ relationship with his fellow actor, Duane Martin, which inevitably created tension between him and his wife.
There’s been a hefty amount of speculation regarding Martin’s sexual orientation, however, the rumors about him and Smith were denied immediately in 2007. It wasn’t long before Smith and Duane’s close relationship once again had people wondering if those old rumors were true.
Will Gives Great Advice
At one point, actor, Michael B. Jordan turned to Will Smith for advice on how to deal with the plague of rumors being spread about him on social media. The fresh-off-the-boat actor told Vanity Fair, “Navigating and learning how to deal with this $hit, there’s nobody that really helped me…”
Despite this statement, Michael admitted to receiving insight from his pal, Will, but never disclosed exactly what they discussed. He did, however, mention that Smith told him to stay focused on his work and continue building his career.
He Knows The Secret To Happiness
Despite the riches Will Smith has earned over the years in his career, there are other things that put a smile on his face, which are far more important. In his rap song, The Mountaintop, the long-time actor referred to how he found happiness in the 49 years of his life.
He told Entertainment Tonight, “The idea is… I’ve been to the top of money…I’ve had all of the adoration… I’ve been to the top of all those material world mountains and nothing makes you happy other than being useful to others. That’s it…”
Rejected A Scholarship To MIT?
At one point, rumors spread throughout the land that Will Smith turned down a scholarship to attend MIT. He never applied to the school, however, was admitted to a pre-engineering program there.
The actor replied to the rumors, “My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college.”
Refused To Attend College
When Will Smith told his folks he wanted to become a professional rapper instead of attending college, they were mortified and totally against the idea. Thinking the only way to succeed in life was with a higher education, his parents were adamant about Will attaining a college degree.
They eventually agreed to meet him halfway and gave him exactly 12 months to make it as a rapper. You can imagine how surprised and impressed they were when they saw their child on screen for the first time.
Gotta Have Faith?
One of the biggest questions surrounding Will Smith over the years revolves around what his religious beliefs are. While he had a Baptist upbringing, the star has, on numerous occasions, dismissed having an affiliation to any specific religious movement.
However, he has often spoken favorably about the Scientologist movement, despite it never being confirmed that he was actually a member of the aforementioned Church. “I just think a lot of the ideas in Scientology are brilliant and revolutionary and non-religious,” he said.
It All Began With Jazzy Jeff
Will Smith’s road to success began all the way back in 1985 when he first met Jeff Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff. The duo hit it off like a house on fire and soon enough, the young man from Philadelphia would go by the street name “The Fresh Prince.”
Signs of the duo’s subversion of stereotypical rap first appeared in their interview on the show Switchback. It was immediately clear that Will and Jazzy Jeff were unique.
Crazy Birthday Party
Will Smith recently celebrated his 50th birthday in true Big Willie Style. Inviting friends and family to watch, he flew over the Grand Canyon and bungee jumped out of a plane! That’s not all though.
The Hollywood star uploaded a video of the jump onto his YouTube account and within a single day, the video received a staggering 5 million views. It just goes to show that even at half a century old, Will Smith is still the man that people want to see.
There are also wild rumors about the couple’s kids, Jaden and Willow. After revealing in a 2013 interview that they do not punish their children, media outlets grew skeptical after a number of stories emerged about the two teens.
Some of these include the strange relationship that Willow has had with a man much older than her. As for Jaden: “I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time,” he said in an interview with T Magazine.
Like many power couples in Hollywood, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been subject of a number of divorce rumors over the years. Despite the wild speculation, Will has consistently debunked such theories.
“There’s no deal breakers. There’s nothing she could do – ever,” he said. “Nothing that would break our relationship. She has my support till death.” In fact, Smith even said the line, “stop the divorce rumors and mind your [business]” in one of his recent rap songs.
We’re Not “Married”
One of the most peculiar details about Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s marriage is the fact that they don’t refer to themselves as actually “married.” This is bizarre, especially since they recited vows at an official wedding ceremony.
Will has another name to describe the relationship. “We don’t even say we’re married anymore,” he said. “We refer to ourselves as life partners, where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life.”