Whether you endured an agonizing hospitalization, or someone you know has and didn’t survive, there’s no question the pandemic hasn’t been kind to most people. Others who were fortunate enough to stay home without immediate risk of infection weren’t spared the discomfort of isolation and suffered cabin fever, loneliness, depression, and drastic weight changes — or an upsetting combination of all four. It’s now apparent Aladdin megastar Will Smith braved the latter. The man who once donned Floyd Lawton’s ballistic helmet put on a few extra pounds recently and makes no attempt to conceal it on Instagram. The father of three isn’t shy about communicating his dismay, and writes, “I’m in the worst shape of my life.”
Will Smith posted a followup this morning, confirming it was indeed the pandemic that did him dirty, asserting once more to a relatively liberal audience that he simply wants to feel better. He is enlisting the help of YouTube — possibly the best, quarantine-friendly physical trainer money could buy — in getting his old body back and vows to stay off the midnight muffins for good. Smith proudly poses for the camera to the tune of The Pussycat Dolls’ Don’t Cha in celebration of his newfound determination. The 52-year-old shot the video in his underwear, presumably in the hopes of proving a good number of his followers wrong about the full extent of his weight gain.
Unlike most Hollywood A-listers who have unwittingly adopted a dad bod whether during coronavirus times or years before, Will Smith enjoyed a comparatively positive reaction to his new physique from his legions of fans (and colleagues) the world over. Few have taken notice of the actor’s apparent misery, with most people brazenly complimenting his new look and openly disputing his statement. With all conceivable kindness, of course. A sizeable number of his followers find the weight gain “fabulous” and “hot,” calling Smith out for “how well he’s rocking the dad bod” better than anyone has before. Whether this response only serves to stifle the actor’s overt distress remains to be seen, but so far he seems to be taking it all in stride.
The second Instagram post helps clarify his feelings further. There’s no question Will Smith is unhappy, but has chosen to face his current predicament with confidence rather than world-weary fatalism. A good number of his Instagram followers are reassuringly realist, commending Smith for taking the essential first step (acceptance and self-awareness) and reminding him he could accomplish anything as long as he hungered for it enough. Others assumed Smith was trolling them and was “probably” preparing for an upcoming role. Some fans, however, kidded among themselves and admitted they could “relate.” Most people have suffered fluctuating proportions during the coronavirus pandemic and have been miserable as a result. Will Smith’s impressive dedication for better is empowering for many people suffering weight changes, and if that’s not a good example of using one’s fame and influence responsibly, we don’t know what is.
Will Smith’s dad bod did little to slow him down, with two films and one documentary coming out last year, and a biographical drama hitting theaters on November 19. The third installment of the Bad Boys franchise, starring Smith as Mike Lowrey and Martin Lawrence (The Beach Bum) as Mike’s detective partner Marcus Burnett, released two months before COVID-19 shut down businesses. Smith is still in peak physicality in this film, which wrapped up principal photography on June 7, 2019, which proves the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s new dad bod really is as recent as the current pandemic.
Life in a Year, a romantic drama starring Cara Delevingne and Smith’s son Jaden, was executive produced by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Will Smith’s next movie, King Richard, is a biopic about tennis coach Richard Williams and his complicated relationship with daughters Venus and Serena, played by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, respectively. Smith, naturally, plays Coach Richard. Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, Baby Driver) and Dylan McDermott (Hollywood, American Horror Story) co-star, with Reinaldo Marcus Green (Joe Bell) directing. Smith also has a second documentary coming out, entitled Amend: The Fight for America, about the enduring historical legacy of the Fourteenth Amendment, as seen through the eyes of present-day abolitionists. Will Smith was recently cast as runaway slave Peter in Antoine Fuqua’s Emancipation.