Actor Will Smith revealed in an interview on November 18 that he once borrowed $10,000 from a drug dealer after he went broke from paying his tax debt.
During his appearance at the Savoy Theatre in London to promote his autobiography, “Will,” Smith spoke with fellow actor Idris Elba and opened up about having financial problems after becoming famous.
According to Metro, in the interview, Smith said, “I’m not sure what the government is like with taxes in the UK, but in the US, they take it seriously.”
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“So Uncle Sam wanted his money,” he continued and added, “I didn’t forget — I just didn’t pay.”
“I had to sell everything, and I knew whatever my new life was going to be, I could feel it was going to be in Los Angeles,” he said. “So I borrowed $10,000 from a friend of mine who was a purveyor of neighborhood pharmaceuticals,” he continued as the audience giggled at his choice of words.
“Was his name Stringer Bell?” Elba asked, referring to the character he played on HBO’s The Wire.
The King Richard actor said his finances had nearly reached rock bottom to the point where he considered declaring bankruptcy before ultimately deciding on moving to Los Angeles and landing the lead role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
According to “Will Smith: A Biography,” the IRS took over 70% of his salary during the show’s first three seasons.
During his time on stage, Smith took the opportunity to end the night with a performance of a medley of his songs with his trusty collaborator Jazzy Jeff which featured “Brand New Funk,” “Switch,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” and “Summertime.”
On November 8, Smith began his five-date book tour where he has promoted his memoir. The tour started in his hometown of Philadelphia, then stopped in Brooklyn, New York; moved on to Chicago; then Los Angeles; and finally London.