Will Smith was near broke before ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’
Will Smith “basically lost everything” before his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air success.
The King Richard star was enjoying musical success but experienced financial ruin, losing his cars and his home, and even spent a night in jail before he hit stratospheric fame with the hit ‘90s sitcom.
The revelation comes from The Oprah Conversation: Will Smith on Apple TV+, in a clip shared exclusively with Entertainment Tonight.
Smith wrote about what happened in his new memoir, ‘ Will’, and he was quizzed about his low point in The Oprah Conversation: Will Smith.
In a clip from the Apple TV+ show shared with Entertainment Tonight, the 67-year old broadcast legend asked: “So right before Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I think people would be surprised to know, this is the first time, I realised … you basically lost everything.
“The government seized your cars, it took your home, you ended up in jail. You describe it in two words actually, ‘rock bottom’. What was at the root of that downfall, Will? And the life lesson you took from it?”
The 53-year old actor admitted a radio station fight that saw him put behind bars made him reassess his life.
He said: “When it rains, it pours. So getting into the fight at the radio station, Charlie punching the dude that landed me in jail, so the money is gone, the car is gone. I am laying on the floor in a jail cell, and I am like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’”
Smith lamented, pointing out how he had, at the time, recently experienced great career highs, such as prestigious awards for his rap career.
The Men in Black star said: “I won a GRAMMY eight months ago. Like, what is happening?” he recalls. “And it’s just the spiral when it starts going the other way. It’s like, sometimes you just have to get out the way and wait until the downward spiral stops.”
The Color Purple actress then commented on Smith’s ability to “see the energy of himself”.
She told him: “You see how the energy of yourself, everything you were doing, created that exact moment.”
In the same interview, the Bad Boys actor also admitted to feeling “failing every woman I interact with” and outlined his desire to “tell the truth”.
“I want to tell the truth. I want to let people have it. I’ve carried, most of life, the sense of failing every woman I interact with. I haven’t talked about that publicly.”
He also said he felt “fearful” about falling in love with his wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith – the mother of his two youngest children, musicians Willow, 21, and Jaden, 23 – since 1997. Previously, he was married to actress Sheree Zampino, with whom he has son Trey, from 1992 to 1995.
He added: “Love being the most fearful place you’ll ever try and step into. Real love. That unconditional love … to be able to open a broken heart again.”