Will Smith has been on a bit of a career skid for the past decade. Of the last 10 movies he’s starred in, only two were critical successes (Concussion and Men in Black III) while winning multiple Razzie awards. Despite this drop in acclaim, studio executives are still willing to write Will Smith massive checks to star in their movies.
Will Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith is a successful actress of her own with roles in Gotham, Hawthorne, and the Madagascar series that has led to her own reported net worth of $20 million.
This Hollywood power couple has been together since 1997 and have two children together, Jaden (19) and Willow (17). With the help of his parents, Jaden has starred in multiple movies such as, After Earth, The Pursuit of Happyness, and 2010’s remake of The Karate Kid. Meanwhile Willow’s first single “Whip My Hair” hit number 11 on the US charts in 2010 on its way to going platinum.
Despite an immense amount of success and talent, a lot of rumors have spread about the family for years.
From bizarre parenting techniques to cheating allegations, here are 20 Dark Secrets You Didn’t Know About Will Smith And His Family.
20 Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have an allegedly open marriage
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have been married for over 20 years, but for a long time rumors have circulated that the two are actually in an open relationship.
It would even appear that Jada isn’t afraid to talk about it. She’s been asked about her supposedly open marriage multiple times and has gone on record about it.
“Here’s the deal with that, Howard, you’ve got to trust who you’re with. And at the end of the day, I’m not here to be anybody’s watcher,” Jada told Howard Stern in 2015. “I’m not his watcher. He’s a grown man. Here’s what I trust — I trust that the man that Will is, is the man of integrity. So, he’s got all the freedom in the world. As long as Will can look himself in the mirror and be okay, I’m good.”
19 The family is rumored to be secret Scientologists
There a lot of celebrities who have confirmed that they are Scientologists. There are also a lot of celebrities who are rumored to be members of the controversial and mysterious religion. Perhaps Scientology’s most famous rumored members are the family of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Anti-Scientologist activist Leah Remini told InTouch that Jada has “been in Scientology a long time,” but Jada denies the allegation.
Jada fired back shortly after with a Facebook post in which she said, “I have prayed in mosques all over the world... but I am not a Muslim; I have read the Bhagavad Gita... but I am not a Hindu; I have chanted and meditated in some of the most magnificent temples on earth… but I am not a Buddhist; and I have studied Dianetics, and appreciate the merits of Study Tech… but I am not a Scientologist.”
18 There have been a lot of cheating rumors
Will and Jada have admitted to having past trouble in their marriage, and there has been infidelity rumors about the two for a long time. The latest rumors surround an alleged affair between Will and Suicide Squad co-star Margot Robbie. The Star reported that the two actors stepped into a photo booth for some racy photos.
“I’ve done a lot of marriage counseling,” Smith told The Sun in 2016. “What happens in a marriage once you do counseling, the truth comes out. And you sit across from your wife and you’ve said all of your truth and she has said all of her truth. You look at each other and you can’t imagine you could ever possibly love each other again now the truth is out."
17 Child Protective Services investigated the family
After a controversial photo was posted online featuring Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s 13-year-old daughter in bed with a shirtless 20-year-old, an investigation was opened by The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services. The department opened the investigation after an anonymous tipster suggested that they were worried about the teenager's safety and well being.
“Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have been extremely cooperative with officials,” an unnamed source told Radar Online in 2014. “Of course, they aren’t happy that their parenting skills are under scrutiny, but they understand.”
“Here’s the deal,” Jada told a TMZ cameraman in 2014. “There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation. You guys are projecting your trash onto it and you’re acting like covert pedophiles, and that’s not cool.”
16 Will is embarrassed by his earlier work
Even before his star-making role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith was a very successful musician in the late 80s under the stage name “The Fresh Prince.” He was approached by NBC to star in a new series for them despite being a first-time actor with no training.
Will Smith may have warmed his way into the hearts of millions of people because of that role, but, now, he says he’s embarrassed by his performance.
“It was my very first role, and I was very, very focused on being successful, so I learned the whole script and everyone else’s lines,” Smith said on The Graham Norton Show in December. "If you watch the first four or five episodes, you can see I’m mouthing other people’s lines. It’s terrible and I can’t bear to watch it."
15 Will and Jada don't believe in disciplining their kids
Will and Jada have come under a lot of fire over the years for their unique approach to parenting. Perhaps the most controversial aspect to their parenting style has been the fact that they don’t believe in disciplining their kids.
"We don't do punishment," Will told E Online in 2013 “The way that we deal with our kids is, they are responsible for their lives. Our concept is, as young as possible, give them as much control over their lives as possible and the concept of punishment, our experience has been—it has a little too much of a negative quality. "So when they do things—and you know, Jaden, he's done things—you can do anything you want as long as you can explain to me why that was the right thing to do for your life."
14 Will might regret his parenting decisions
Will Smith is incredibly proud of his kids, but also thinks he might have gone too far while parenting them.
“I think we might have gone too far,” Smith told BBC in 2016. “Jaden is 100 percent fearless, he will do anything. So as a parent it’s scary, it’s really terrifying — but he is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions and he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think.
Regardless of what Will thinks, Jaden seems to appreciate his father’s approach.
“You're the best father anyone could ask for," Jaden recently posted on his father’s Instagram page. "Thank you for allowing me to express myself even when I take it to far sometimes. I love you more than you will ever know because you taught me how to love. Also, thank you for having the best Instagram on planet earth."
13 Will Smith is popular at Guantanamo Bay
Harry Potter was a long time favorite of the prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, a controversial American military prison in the southeastern edge of Cuba, but it has been more recently supplanted by Will Smith’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
“I just ordered all six seasons,” librarian Milton, a Defense Department contractor who gives only his first name to visiting journalists, told The Miami Herald in 2012. The librarian wasn’t able to give a specific reason that the show had become so popular, but did go on to say that comedies were often among the most popular requested items from the detention center’s library.
Other series and books that Milton went on to say were either popular or had been popular in the past included The Cosby Show, The Hunger Games, and Twilight.
12 At 13, Willow had a strange relationship with a grown man
There was an uproar in 2014 when Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter, then 13-year-old Willow, had a picture of her in bed with a shirtless 20-year-old actor named Moises Arias. The picture shows the teenage lounging on the edge of a bed while the former Hannah Montana star sits shirtless with his lower half below bedsheets.
The photo prompted an investigation from child protective services who later dropped the investigation.
A source close to the investigation told Radar Online that they discovered, “no evidence presented that Willow has ever been in any danger around Moises, or that she has ever been physically or emotionally abused.” The source went on to add that they found Willow to be “a very well adjusted, smart, and articulate young lady.”
11 Studio executives are weirded out by the family
Jaden and Willow Smith gave a bizarre interview to The New York Time’s style magazine in 2015. When talking about the themes in her music Willow said, “this is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.”
This was apparently enough to weird out at least one executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment. An email leaked in 2015 in which Tom Rothman (known to some as Bad Tom) sent out an email to fellow executives with several quotes from Jaden and Willow Smith. He also added, “they r home schooled: dont let this family date your movies!!!”
Will Smith took the whole thing in stride. “Everybody disses my kids,” Smith told Variety. “To me, that's just part of the business. And somebodys email is private, you know? So I would never hold anybody responsible for something they said in a private email. I shouldn't even know about it.”
10 Will and Jada have been accused of "bearding"
Despite having two children, rumors have circulated that Will and Jada are actually using their relationship to disguise the fact that they’re both gay.
“When Jada comes out as Gay and her beard husband admits his first marriage ended when she walked in to him servicing his Sugar Daddy Benny Medina ..then I will listen to them,” transgender actress Alexis Arquette posted on Facebook after Jada announced she would be boycotting the 2015 Academy Awards. She went on to add “Will threw a fit on the set of [Six Degrees of Separation] when he was required by the scene to kiss Anthony Rapp. He persuaded the director to shoot the back of his head in frame. Blocking the non existent lip lock entirely. Gays have enemies. They lurk in gilded closets. Outing is healthy. You are either with or against us. You decide. Today."
9 Will Smith is actually really good at solving Rubik's cubes
In The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith plays Chris Gardner a real-life character who went from being homeless to becoming a successful businessman and entrepreneur. One pivotal scene in the show shows Will Smith’s character solving an “unsolvable” Rubik’s cube in front of a potential employer. This was something that Will Smith actually learned to do for the role.
"After an hour and a half, [people typically] can solve the Rubik's Cube with a sheet of instructions on it, without any input from me," Tyson Mao, a consultant on the film told the Chicago Tribune in 2007. "After 10 hours, Will Smith was able to solve the Rubik's Cube on his own, without anything. Not only learning the process but committing it to memory."
Smith went on to put his skills to the test, solving a Rubik’s cube live on air in 2006.
8 Will Smith once owed massive amount of money to the IRS
Initially, Will Smith had opposed the idea of starring in a television show because he was afraid of looking like a sellout. His radio-friendly songs were already giving him and DJ Jazzy Jeff a reputation as “rap sellouts.” He thought that taking the role would likely mean the end of his music career.
Unfortunately for Will, around this time the star had neglected to pay $2.8 million in taxes, money that he didn’t have. With practically perfect timing executives at NBC approach Will with an idea for a TV show called The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a role that came with a considerable paycheck.
The IRS eventually seized a number of Will Smith’s possessions and took 70% of his Fresh Prince earnings through the first three seasons, but, eventually, the debt was paid off and Will Smith became one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood.
7 Will was a millionaire before he turned 20
Will Smith has been famous for practically his entire adult life. Like his character in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith was born in West Philadelphia in 1968. His father was a refrigeration engineer and his mother was a school board administrator.
"My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT,” Smith said. “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."
Instead of going to college Smith decided to try his hand at music with his longtime friend Jeffrey Townes. Together the duo gained critical acclaim, became multi-millionaires, and won the first-ever Grammy award given for rap music.
6 Will Smith got to pick his character's name on Fresh Prince
As part of his contract when he signed on to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith, and a couple other co-stars, were allowed to pick the name of his character. Will Smith and co-star Alfonso Ribeiro decided to brainstorm ideas for their character’s names together.
Alfonso advised Will that he should be very careful in picking his characters name because, if the show became a hit, it would be the name that everyone would call him in public. In order to prevent confusion (and possibly assert his own personal brand), Will Smith decided to name his character “Will.” Ironically Alfonso decided to go with the name “Carlton,” which is still the only name most people know him as.
At first, there was pushback from executives at NBC, but they relented because Will Smith already had a substantial amount of name recognition that could attract views to the show.
5 Jaden's Ex was charged with a felony (while they were dating)
In early 2015, then 15-year-old Jaden Smith started dating model and Instagram star Sarah Snyder who was 18 at the time. The couple was together for over two years before splitting up in the spring of 2017.
A year into their relationship, in June of 2016, Sarah Snyder was arrested for a felony charge of one count of third-degree larceny. The arrest came after a high-end store in Katonah, New York reported a blonde female who had entered the store and walked out with a Hermes handbag worth $15,995.
There were four eyewitnesses who claimed they saw Snyder steal the purse, but Snyder claimed she was in Florida at the time. The charges were later dropped in February of 2016, but the model stirred up controversy when she posted a picture of herself wearing a t-shirt with her mugshot printed on it.
4 Jaden and Willow make their own music because they don't like anyone else's
Will Smith’s kids have been the source of a lot of controversies, but there is no denying that they have a lot of creative ambition. The brother and sister duo have starred in multiple movies and have both become successful artists and musicians.
One of the reasons that Jaden and Willow decided to create music is that they didn’t like the music that was being made by other artists.
“Honestly, we’re just trying to make music that we think is cool,” Jaden told T Magazine in 2014. “We don’t think a lot of the music out there is that cool. So we make our own music. We don’t have any song that we like to listen to on the P.C.H. by any other artist, you know?”
3 Willow's favorite books are the ones she wrote herself
In addition to their musical careers and aspirations, T Magazine’s interview with Jaden and Willow Smith touched on a variety of topics including controlling time, Prana energy, and dual consciousness.
When asked what books they had been reading, then 13 year old Willow said she had been reading books on quantum physics and the writings of Indian guru Rajneesh (whose followers created a bioterror attack in Oregon in 1984) while Jaden said he was working on The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life and various other “ancient texts.”
Willow would later go on to say, “There’re no novels that I like to read so I write my own novels, and then I read them again, and it’s the best thing.” With Jaden adding, “Willow’s been writing her own novels since she was 6.”
None of Willow’s novels have been published, but several lists of satirical titles have come out.
2 Jaden wants to be the craziest person of all time
Despite his relatively successful acting and music careers, Jaden Smith is probably best known for his ridiculous tweets. With great Twitter quotes like, “How can mirrors be real if our eyes aren’t real” and “If newborn babies could speak they’d be the most intelligent beings on earth,” Jaden is well on his way to reaching his goal of becoming the craziest person of all time.
“I have a goal to be just the most craziest person of all time,” Jaden told T Magazine in 2014. “And when I say craziest, I mean, like, I want to do like Olympic-level things. I want to be the most durable person on the planet.”
“I think by the time we’re 30 or 20,” his sister Willow added. “We’re going to be climbing as many mountains as we can possibly climb.”
1 Will Smith allegedly got Aunt Viv fired
Between season three and season four of Fresh Prince, there was a major casting shakeup. Janet Hubert-Whitten, who had played Aunt Viv for the first three seasons, abruptly left the show and was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. There had been rumors that Hubert was difficult to work with, and, to this day, she and Will Smith don’t get along.
"I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be 'The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show' because I know she is going to dog me in the press," Smith told an Atlanta radio station in 1993. "She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She's mad now but she's been mad all along."
Fresh Prince co-star Alfonso Ribeiro also said about the Hubert, “Basically, at the end of the day, [she] was crazy. She went nuts!”
What was the most outrageous secret about Will Smith's family? Let us know in the comments!