This Is How Will Smith nearly failed

Although Will Smith might be the most generously compensated entertainer nowadays, he was not continually living in extravagance.


Smith landed at No. Smith was ranked No.3 on Variety’s top-paid actor’s list with a huge $40 million check. The actor tied Denzel Washington for third place, following Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and Daniel Craig. According to Celebrity Net Worth, this is on top of his reported 350 million fortune. Smith’s initial claim to fame was with his friend DJ Jazzy Jeff in the 1980s when they released “Parents just don’t understand.” The rapper then discovered his talents in acting, landing the iconic role of Fresh Prince in “The Fresh Princes of Bel-Air.” Smith was able to rise to stardom, earning him larger-than-life paychecks quickly. However, this proved to be more trouble for Smith than good.

Smith laughed as he revealed how he got his star role on “The Fresh Prince”: “Before, I was into trouble with Uncle Phil. So what happened to the actor that almost made him broke? Read on for all the details.

Will Smith didn’t pay his taxes.


Will Smith was a Grammy champ for “Guardians Simply Don’t comprehend” in 1988

Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Smith made $10 million from his early days as a rapper. But Uncle Sam found out about Smith’s earnings, and the actor was in trouble. Smith did what many twentysomethings do, if they’re lucky enough to become millionaires, and spent his fortune. He owed the IRS $2.8million and was left bankrupt, according to CNBC.

Smith’s troubles with Uncle Sam began shortly before Smith was cast in the role of the “Fresh Prince,” which meant that his first few paychecks on his comedy series went straight towards the IRS. In fact, according to “Will Smith: A Biography,” for the first two years of the show, the IRS was taking 70% of Smith once said that it was more depressing to have six cars and home and not be able to afford gas.

Despite his enormous success, Will Smith still feels ‘financially anxious.’


Will Smith became a household name outside of hip-hop in the 1990s. Smith shared his story about how his then-girlfriend persuaded him to attend an industry party. One celebrity sighting after the next led to Smith auditioning for the “Fresh Prince” role. Smith said that although the job was available immediately, it wasn’t easy to make a living financially.

Smith was an artist who spent his first few years riding the bus after he lost his millions. Smith declared on YouTube that “being famous and broke” is a terrible combination. (via CNBC). “Because people still recognize you and you’re still popular, they also recognize you as you sit next to them on a bus.”

Smith’s experience seemed to have stayed with him after he had repaid all his millions. Oprah told Smith years later that despite his multimillion-dollar fortune, he still feels like the “broke” young star in his 20s. Smith stated that it was difficult to change one’s mindset, no matter how much success you have. “I have a poor person mentality. It is hard for me to get over it. The star said, “When it comes to going to sleep at night, I’m as financially anxious now as I was twenty years ago.”

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