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Will Smith was already a millionaire before starring in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Will Smith was already a millionaire before starring in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Will Smith is 55 today, but he started making his millions long before he moved with his aunty and uncle in Bel Air

Will Smith was already a millionaire before he even started his famous role in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, having become extremely wealthy while he was still at high school.

It’s strange to think, but Will Smith has actually been in the public eye for well over three decades now.

In fact, he started his musical career in the mid-1980s.

Nowadays, he’s one of the most recognisable, bankable, and – more recently – controversial film stars in the world, but he’s been working at that for a very long time.

Today, Will Smith celebrates his 55th birthday, having won just about every acting award there is to win, as well as starring in loads of incredibly commercially successful films, and released a number of albums along the way.

Will Smith and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast.
NBC

Things – apart from a few hiccups – have gone pretty well for him since the start.

That start saw him earn his first million bucks before he was even starring in the fish-out-of-water sitcom that brought him his first acting fame.

While they were still in school, Smith and his friend Jeff Smith – DJ Jazzy Jeff, as he’s better known – struck it big with their song ‘Parents Just Don’t Understand’.

That earned them a Grammy award and – presumably – a ton of money, along the way.

During the years that followed, the pair would release a slew of other hits, before Smith branched out into acting in 1990 with Fresh Prince.

That was the springboard for his acting career, and set him on the path that he’s still on these days.

According to The Things, Smith’s first million was made before he was even 20 years old, two years before the move to TV.

Smith and Jazzy Jeff made their first album Rock the House at that time, following that with He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper, and both were commercially very successful, with the first certified gold and second three-times platinum.

However, the impetuousness of youth might have actually forced his hand and pushed him into the acting world, as he spent money like it was going out of fashion, eventually getting into hot water with the taxman.

Smith reportedly had a penchant for the finer things, buying up loads of designer threads, cars and other luxury items, even closing down shops so he could shop with his friends privately.

Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff were successful before the Fresh Prince
Will Smith and Jazzy Jeff were successful before the Fresh Prince

That excess eventually caught up with him, as he didn’t have enough money to pay back his taxes in the end.

The IRS repossessed some stuff, but still the bill wasn’t settled.

In total, he owed around $3,000,000 to the tax organisation, so Smith went off to NBC looking to work in acting.

So, in many ways, that tax bill might have created the Fresh Prince, and – in turn – set Smith’s career on a totally different trajectory.

Featured Image Credit: Kassa Zakadi/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty/Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty

Topics: Will Smith, Celebrity, Film and TV, Money