Will Smith’s Career – Fresh Prince Almost Going Bankrupt To That Oscars Slap
Willard Carroll Smith II, better known as Will Smith, saw his music career take a new direction after appearing on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Since then, the actor’s popularity turned him into one of the biggest names in the Hollywood industry.
According to Tuko, Will Smith’s net worth has now reached an estimated $350 million. This would make him the third highest-paid black actor in the Hollywood industry.
At the age of 54, Will has appeared in more than 75 projects, including films and television. His most famous works include The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Independence Day, Hancock, Bad Boys, and Suicide Squad. Before becoming a household name, Will Smith carved out a career as a successful rapper. But what happened after that? Let’s take a trip back down memory lane for Will Smith’s career and life…
He first appeared in the spotlight on January 17, 1980, when he began rapping. With a steady career, Will Smith’s song Parents Just Don’t Understand alongside his best friend DJ Jazzy became a huge hit. As per Celebrity Net Worth, Will earned approximately $10 million from his music career. The star also bagged a Grammy, but his life took a turn when he didn’t pay his income taxes. Will Smith admitted underpaying “Uncle Sam”, and said he had to borrow $10,000 from his friend who sold drugs, writes Insider. The Internal Revenue Service ended up assessing a $2.8 million tax debt against the actor, which saw money and possessions being taken away, according to Will Smith: A Biography.
The star was completely broke and almost went bankrupt. It was reported that for two years, 70% of his paycheck from projects and collaborations was taken by the IRS. However, he managed to turn his life back around with a role in TV. In the late 80s, Will achieved fame as a rapper under the stage name of The Fresh Prince. However, it wasn’t until the 90s when the actors’ fame expanded internationally thanks to the popularity of the NBC show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Broke and in debt, the actor found huge success through the series by playing the role of himself. It helped cement his place in Hollywood as he went on to act in blockbuster movies. Becoming a household name and a movie star, he appeared in hits like Independence Day (1996), Men in Black (1997), and Enemy of the State (1998). However, Will Smith’s career expanded as he took the role of Mike Lowrey for the trilogy hit, Bad Boys. It was reported that the three movies have made an estimated amount of $838 million in total revenue at the worldwide box office. The third installment, Bad Boys For Life, tripled sales revenue more than its first, Bad Boys.
In 1997, following his divorce from Sheree Zampino, Will fell head over heels for Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple didn’t take long to take their relationship to the altar, as they tied the knot at the end of that year. The couple welcomed Jaden in 1998 and Willow in 2000. Will shares Trey Smith (born in 1992) with Sheree. His son Jaden appeared to follow in his footsteps by acting alongside Will in The Pursuit of Happyness while still a child. Jaden took up another role next to his dad for After Earth seven years later. Although daughter Willow has embarked on a music career, it seems Jaden has stepped away from Hollywood for some time and not appeared in other movies.
2022 has been a year of reflection for the actor, after Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage during the live broadcast of The Oscars (Academy Awards). In March, Will became a trending topic worldwide after he was seen slapping actor Chris Rock. It came after the Longest Yard star made a comment comparing Will’s wife Jada and her hairstyle to the film GI Jane. The Men in Black star shouted: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth” and the quote went viral.
Following the incident, the actor publicly apologized while announcing a short break to “reflect” on his actions. First, the actor released a post on Instagram over the incident, before months later recording a video. Reports said the Academy Awards banned him from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years. As of today, the actor is set to return to the screens with his next project, Emancipation. He will be starring both as an actor and a producer, alongside his co-star Ben Foster. It currently doesn’t have a release date, although the film is likely to air in 2023.