Initially meeting on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1995, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith soon married two years later at the “Cloisters, a medieval-style mansion near [Jada’s] hometown of Baltimore,” in December of 1997. Seven months later, the newlywed couple gave birth to their first child—not to be confused with Smith’s first child—Jaden Smith. Two years later the couple had their second child, Willow Smith. Unforeseeably Will and Jada were creating a family that would soon become a Hollywood powerhouse.
From the Fresh Prince’s multimillion-dollar films to the role-playing doctor’s top television shows, Black Hollywood’s “it” couple brought in millions over the years, and that doesn’t include their Broadway partnerships with shows such as Fela and Annie; their stake in Carol’s Daughter; or the Will And Jada Smith Family Foundation. From TV to charity, these two have done it all, and in the process made sure that their heirs are there to carry out the family legacy. With music singles already topping the Billboard charts, and movies already home MTV and Image Award titles, Jaden and Willow, respectively, have proved their more than just the children of Hollywood’s stars.
As a whole, the family is currently worth an estimated $232 million—Will Smith, $200 million; Jada Pinkett-Smith, $20 million; Jaden Smith, $ 8 million; and Will Smith $4 million—but with several films and businesses ventures in the works, that number is sure to grow. So Black Enterprise is taking a look into one of Tinsel Town’s most wealthy families, as each member is a star in their own right. After all, they are legend.
Will Smith, Television & Film
Will Smith made his first television debut just months before he landed on the set of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In April 1990, Smith made his first small screen appearance on ABC Afterschool Specials as Hawker in “The Perfect Date” episode. Then, five months later, the Prince and his TV family premiered their first episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The unforgettable family series ran for six years, with the now Oscar-nomiated actor starring in a total of 147 episodes of the show.
One year after stepping foot on the California-based set, Smith did a one-time appearance on the ’90s sitcom, Blossom. Those three television shows were the Philly-born actor’s only small screen roles, but Smith resurfaced in TV in 2003 when he and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, produced the family sitcom, All of Us. The show lasted four seasons.
While Will Smith’s TV career was fruitful, it was his film career that really blew fans away. In 1992, this bad boy starred in his first movie, Where the Day Takes You, a film that follows the lives of teenage runaways living on the streets of L.A. One year later, Smith starred alongside Whoopi Goldgerg, Nia Long and Ted Danson in Made in America. From that year forward, everybody’s favorite comedic actor was starring in at least one film a year until 2008 where he took a four-year hiatus from the big screen after Seven Pounds. In 2012, Smith returned for the Men in Black pre-quel, Men in Black III. The Oscar nominee currently has five films in the works including the 2013 release of After Earth, which stars his son, Jaden Smith. With the his upcoming films in the works, Smith will have completed 26 films in his career, averaging making his name sake worth an estimated $200 million.
Jada Pinkett, Television & Film
Four years before Jada Pinkett-Smith made her film debut in 1993 on the set of Menace II Society, she was playing a variety of roles on network television. In 1990, she played Natalia on the TV movie, Moe’s World, alongside Tisha Campbell and Duane Martin; that same year she appeared on True Colors as Beverly; one year later she landed a one-time role on Doogie Howser, M.D.; followed by a quick role on the TV series of 21 Jump Street. And while Menace II Society may have served has her introduction to film, it wasn’t until her role on A Different World as Lena James that she began to get noticed.
In 1994, the Baltimore-born actress starred in three films—The Inkwell, Jason’s Lyric and A Low Down Dirty Shame—the following year she took on the role of Jeryline in Tales From the Crypt. But just one year later, in 1996, Pinkett-Smith starred alongside Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, and from there her film career just couldn’t slow down. The classic film, Set It Off, released that same year showing the first lady of Black Hollywood in one of her most pivotal roles to date.
Since then, the actress properly known as Jada Koren Pinkett has starred in 17 additional films including Ali, The Women, The Matrix Reloaded and Madagascar. But the big screen wasn’t the only passion she continued to follow. In 2003, Jada partnered with her husband to produce the four-season sitcom, All of Us, and went on to produce her own show on TNT in 2009, Hawthorne. There she played the role of Christina Hawthorne, and lived there until 2011 making $150,000 per episode.
Willow Smith, Music & Film
Willow Smith has always made quite a statement being the youngest child of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith. From her quirky hairstyles to her couture sense of fashion, the back-and-forth hair-slinging kid has never been shy of cameras. In fact, her tenacious personality and eclectic style has landed her a number of acting roles and a No. 1 single, giving her an estimated net worth of $4 million, as reported in 2011.
Aside from having two extremely famous parents, Willow made her way to the spotlight in 2007 when she stepped foot on the big screen alongside her dad in I Am Legend. Shortly after, the shaved-haired kid appeared in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008). Quickly following in the footsteps of her father—releasing multiple projects in one year—Willow also made an appearance on Merry Madagascar (2009), a TV short spin-off from the Madagascar series, and obtained a reoccurring role on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. But her acting skills aren’t the only talent to catch the public eye.
Just like her father, music was a passion Willow couldn’t ignore. In 2010, the Hollywood legacy released her first single, “Whip My Hair.” The song was so popular it had adults whipping their weaves in the club, and made its way onto 25 of Billboard’s charts including the Rhythmic Top 40 and Pop 100 charts.
Jaden Smith, Music & Film
If there’s one extremely talented kid in the family, there’s usually another, and in this case that’s beyond true. Jaden Smith is the first of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s children together and he’s found plenty of ways to live up to the family name. While Jaden made his first appearance on camera in 2003 on the family-produced show, All of Us, it was his 2006 performance in The Pursuit of Happyness, opposite his father, that brought his acting skills to the forefront of the public eye. While he appeared on the Disney Channel series, The Suit Life of Zack and Cody in 2008, and starred in The Day the Earth Stood Still the same year, it was The Karate Kid (2010) that made fans truly begin to take him seriously as an actor. The former curly-haired kid is now in post-production of his upcoming film, After Earth (2013), another major motion picture featuring he and his father.
But while acting is clearly his priority these days, Jaden has also found time to dabble in the music world—appearing on Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” single in early 2010. The song reached No. 33 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart that summer. With his numerous big screen appearances and musical debut, the young Will Smith has racked up an estimated net worth $8 million.