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Will Smith Admits He ‘Fell In Love’ With Stockard Channing During First Marriage

Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation trailer
(Image credit: MGM)

Falling in love with a co-star is not an unusual occurrence in Hollywood. But problems can arise when one or both co-stars are married while filming either a film or television series. While making the acclaimed 1993 drama Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith found himself experiencing a one-sided love with his co-star Stockard Channing. At the time, he was married to his first wife Sheree Zampino. The King Richard star recently spoke on how he became infatuated with his colleague.

What made the situation worse was that Will Smith and Zampino had just had their first baby. Smith recalled applying method acting led to him becoming enamored with Stockard Channing during an interview with People. Of course, in the film, his character catches feelings for Channing’s character. Unfortunately, those feelings translated to real-life. The two-time Oscar nominee gave a peek to  into how his personal and professional lives began to clash, saying,

Sheree and I were in the first few months of our marriage with a brand-new baby and for Sheree, I can imagine that this experience was unsettling to say the least. She'd married a guy named Will Smith and now she was living with a guy named Paul Poitier. And to make matters worse, during shooting I fell in love with Stockard Channing.

At the time of filming Six Degrees of Separation, a lot was going on in Will Smith’s life. Being a newlywed, having a child and preparing for a career-changing role seemed to overwhelm the actor. The line between real life and fiction began to blur together. According to the Bad Boys for Life star, his feelings for Stockard Channing didn’t wane even after production wrapped. Smith revealed how his lingering feelings affected his first marriage.

After the film wrapped, Sheree and Trey and I moved back to L.A. Our marriage was off to a rocky start. I found myself desperately yearning to see and speak to Stockard.

So, Will Smith’s first marriage didn’t get off to the best start. At that point in his life, the actor hadn’t figured out how to balance fatherhood with a booming career. Moving to a new city didn’t help the circumstance either.

Stockard Channing in Six Degrees of Separation trailer

(Image credit: MGM)

Fortunately, Stockard Channing didn’t reciprocate Will Smith’s feelings as she was with her long-term partner at the time. His infatuation with Channing seemed to spell trouble for his marriage as the couple divorced in 1995.

The surprising admission was just the latest relationship revelation to come from the Smith clan. Will Smith admitted he and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith have an open relationship. The Matrix Revolutions star also revealed some surprising details about the couple’s sex life and marriage, which she later clarified.

Will Smith’s newfound openness has come in advance of the release of his memoir, Will, which is arriving in stores on November 9. Audiences will get to see the actor on the big screen again later this month in King Richard, which arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on November 19.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).