Will Smith Recalls That Time He Got In A Bind And Borrowed 10K From A Drug Dealer

Will Smith stands stunned on his lawn in Independence Day.
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

There was a time when Will Smith was, without question, the biggest movie star in the world. Every 4th of July seemed to see a new movie coming out with his name on the poster. While Smith might not be as big a star as he once was, he’s still doing much better than he was in the early days of his fame, a time when he apparently had to borrow $10,000 from a drug dealer after he didn’t pay his taxes. 

We have learned a number of remarkable things about the Will Smith without even having to read his new memoir, Will. The Bad Boys actor has spoken very openly about his relationships as well as how he even contemplated killing his abusive father. Now Will Smith has spoken to a crowd, and actor Idris Elba (via Metro), about how he had to borrow a significant sum of money back when he was still known as The Fresh Prince, because he sort of forgot to pay his taxes.

During a recent event in the UK, where Will Smith was interviewed by Idris Elba, Smith explained...

I'm not sure what the government is like with taxes in the UK, but in the US they take it seriously. So Uncle Sam wanted his money. I didn't forget — I just didn't pay.

Will Smith admits that this wasn’t a case of forgetting to pay his taxes somehow, he just chose not to do it. However, the IRS came looking for what it was owed, and Smith says he basically had to sell off everything he owned in order to pay the bill. He’s not the first musical artist to come into financial difficulties despite a successful career. Record Industry contracts are notorious when it comes to the way the artists are compensated. Many end up in debt. 

It sounds like, once Will Smith got the taxes paid, he was clear of debts, but he was also completely broke. Smith decided that to move his career forward, he needed to move to Los Angeles, but he had no money to make the trip. And so, he went to somebody who he knew would have the money to get the loan. Smith continues...

So I borrowed $10k from a friend of mine who was a purveyor of neighbourhood pharmaceuticals.

Luckily for Will Smith, he made the right call in moving to Los Angeles, as it was there that he would find his true big break in the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The rest, as they say, is history. He was certainly able to pay back the loan eventually. No word if there was any interest attached. Maybe, if Will Smith wins an Oscar, he'll thank this guy in his speech.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.