Will Smith revealed the lengths he once went to in order to get out of trouble with Uncle Sam while not sacrificing his entire acting career. The actor spent the late 1980s as the Fresh Prince (no, not that one, yet) alongside his friend and fellow artist DJ Jazzy Jeff. Smith was a big deal in the music world, particularly in Philadelphia, but he recently revealed in an interview he did with fellow actor Idris Elba (excerpted by Metro) that one of the many revelations in his upcoming memoir Will is the fact that he once decided he wasn’t going to pay his taxes.
Although Will Smith is considered one of the most successful and marketable leading men ever (despite his popularity waning a bit in recent years), even he isn’t big enough to simply decide not to pay his taxes. However, he told Elba that’s exactly what he did one year. This is not to be confused with forgetting to pay one’s taxes — Will Smith just decided he was going to be a big shot and not pay.
Uncle Sam eventually came calling and the actor had to sell off most of his possessions in order to pay what he owed. However, he did it all on his own, according to him. But, as Cinemablend notes, he’s far from the first recording artist to find himself in immense debt to the government and forced to sell off everything his career had yielded to date. The story kind of writes itself it’s been so well-tread. Well, needless to say that Will Smith was not about to deal with that.
The actor decided that he would move to Los Angeles and get his acting career off the ground. Unfortunately, he had pretty much no money at all. So, he turned to a neighborhood friend whom he said “was a purveyor of neighborhood pharmaceuticals.” — That’s code for an illegal drug dealer. Still, he must have been a good friend because he reportedly loaned Will Smith $10,000 to move to Los Angeles and get his career off the ground.
It turned out to be a safe bet, not long after, Will Smith landed the role of Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which made him a household name and springboarded him to immense new levels of popularity. By 1994, he was the lead role in the massively successful summer blockbuster Independence Day and, needless to say, he was more than in a position to repay the $10,000.
He’s been working steadily ever since, but his latest project brings him right back to his roots. Will Smith will produce a reboot of his hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, this time he won’t be the star. That’s not the only big change to the show’s format. Instead of being a lighthearted sitcom, the reboot of the show will be a drama focused on the class disparity and culture shock that a young boy from Philadelphia experiences when he’s transplanted to the ritzy California neighborhood to live with his wealthy uncle.