Will Smith Reveals He Became Famous to Get Revenge on a Cheating Ex-Girlfriend

Will Smith says he vowed to become famous after finding out his high school girlfriend was cheating on him

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Take that, Will Smith‘s ex-girlfriend!

Talking about what motivated him to become an actor, the Concussion star revealed that a serious case of teenage heartbreak drove him to seek fame.

“When I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me,” Smith, 47, told Benicio Del Toro on Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series published Tuesday. “And from that moment, in this bizarre psychological twist, I wanted to be the most famous entertainer on Earth.”

At the time, he says, “I believed that your girlfriend couldn’t cheat on you.” Smith made quick work of his vow to become famous. He had a hit rap song on the radio before he was even out of high school, and won his first Grammy in 1998, just five years after the breakup. Two years later he was cast in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

RELATED: Will Smith Examines the Dangers of Football in New Trailer for Concussion

Smith still credits the cheating incident with influencing his acting method. “It’s that really bizarre psychological leap,” he explains. “I’m always looking for that in my characters: What’s the bizarre psychological leap they make based on some trauma?”

The lesson has clearly paid off, with Smith raking in over $6 billion in worldwide box-office grosses, according to the Los Angeles Times. He’s also been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and has four Grammy Awards to his name.

His latest film, Concussion, hits theaters Dec. 25.

Related Articles