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How Will Smith Went from $2.8 Million in Debt to One of the Wealthiest Hollywood Stars

Any doubt over Will Smith’s “Hollywood royalty” status? Before even venturing into his career, the man already has an enviable portfolio in real estate to prove that he is indeed “king”.

Therefore, looking at his acting career spanning over two decades simply cements his position as one of the Hollywood heavyweights. He has been one of the highest-earning actors for the longest time ever, so you best believe the man’s got bank.

Will Smith – Hollywood royalty

In Debt

However, as is the case with most happy-ending stories, it wasn’t always like this for Will Smith. Before becoming an actor, the man was a rapper in his teenage years.

The little fame he had got into his head, leading him into a downward spiral of uncontrolled spending and unpaid taxes. It got so bad that the young rapper found himself owing the IRS $2.8 million.

Speaking about this last year, the actor said that being famous was really cool, the being broke part was what he didn’t like. He liked people recognizing him everywhere else, apart from when he was riding the bus just like them.

Thank God for The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as it was the show that bailed the young Will Smith out. He was able to fully pay his IRS outstanding debt, but boy did he feel the pinch. For seasons one to three, 70% of Smith’s salary went to servicing his debt.

Thank you, Bad Boys

The actor’s first major stint on film was 1995’s Bad Boys, a movie in which Smith starred alongside Martin Lawrence. The movie turned out to be insanely successful, and it was just the spark Will Smith needed in his career. There was no stopping him then!

Will Smith alongside Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys

In 1996 came Independence Day, and Men in Black the following year. In ’98, audiences had a field day watching him in Enemy of the State. Next came Wild West in ’99, and The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000. Ali came in 2001, just before Will Smith returned in 2002’s Men in Black 2.

The following year brought with it Bad Boys 2, and the actor wasn’t just about to slow down. He continued to star in film after film, including Hitch, I am Legend (my personal favorite), Hancock, I,Robot, Men in Black’s third installment, and so many more! The actor’s latest stint has him playing the genie in the Aladdin movie that is currently in theatres.

How much do you think Will Smith earned from his blockbusters? For Men in Black 3, the actor took home $100 million. His breakout role in Bad Boys set the bar for salaries he would expect for other roles, with the movie bringing him $2 million.


With $350 million to his name, Will Smith keeps his family comfortable

For a guy that had once been in debt for much more than this, $2 million must have really been it for him! $5 million from Independence Day was a nice improvement, and he earned the same from Men in Black. For I am Legend, a $25 million check was enough to have him play the part.

For all his exploits, the man is now worth $350 million. He must really be proud of how far he has come.  We definitely are!

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