The Will Smith timeline

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith. Credit: Getty Images
Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Jaden Smith.
Credit: Getty Images

In anticipation of Metro’s Special Guest Stars Will and Jaden Smith, who will appear in our exclusive Earth Day issue on April 22, we’re taking a look back on how Will Smith went from the “Fresh Prince” to an international superstar.

The Will Smith timeline

1968: On September 25, Willard Christopher “Will” Smith was born in, as you know from the “Fresh Prince” theme song, West Philadelphia. He spent most of his days on the playground, chilling out, maxing and relaxing.

1980s: With pal Jeffrey Allen Townes, aka DJ Jazzy Jeff, Smith created feel-good rap songs like “Parents Just Don’t Understand” and “Summertime.” And in…

1988: Smith and Townes won the first-ever Rap Grammy.

1990: Smith’s rap famelanded him a starring role on a sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” a fish out of water comedy that came at the right time: Smith was reportedly bankrupt. But he had a plan.

1992: Smith marries Sheree Zampino. Their son Willard Christopher Smith III, aka Trey, appeared in the “Just the Two of Us” video—and it would soon be just the two of them. The couple divorced in 1995.

1993: His first major film role: “Six Degress of Separation,” based on the famous play about a con atist (Smith) who poses as Sidney Poitier’s son. The role led him acting cred.

1995: He became a movie star, appearing opposite Martin Lawrence as one half of “Bad Boys.” The film grossed $141 million worldwide.

1996-97: Then came the real hits: “Independence Day” cemented his status as a blockbuster draw, and “Men in Black” proved Will + sci-fi = billions.

1997: Smith marries actress Jada Pinkett, his best co-star since Tommy Lee Jones.

1998: A year later, they have a son, Jaden.

1999: His only questionable career move: turning down “The Matrix” for “Wild Wild West.”

2000: Redeemed by daughter, Willow.

2001-2013: The Smiths—Will, Jada Pinkett-, Jaden, Willow—are a multi-hyphenate powerhouse: rapping, acting, directing and producing—even writing. Will and Jaden’s new film, “After Earth,” is “based on a story by Will Smith.” Here’s hoping it involves a cameo for Uncle Phil.


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