Will Smith Credits Teenage Heartbreak, ‘Psychological Leap’ For Inspiring His Career

Actor Will Smith credits a cheating girlfriend and a psychological twist for inspiring him to work towards having a successful career in the entertainment industry.

Variety reports that the Oscar-nominated actor opened up about the subject — which occurred over three decades ago — during a recent “Actors on Actors” conversation.

“When I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me. And from that moment, in this bizarre psychological twist, I wanted to be the most famous entertainer on Earth.”

Back in 1983, the world of entertainment had not yet been introduced to the former star of the hit NBC series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, the 47-year-old award-winning entertainer apparently did not take very long at all to change that forever.

Along with his close friend, “DJ Jazzy” Jeff Townes, Will Smith co-founded the hip hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince in the mid-80s.

Nearly six years after that life-changing incident with his cheating girlfriend, Will became a Grammy winner thanks to the success of his hit 1989 single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

NBC built a hilarious sitcom around the Grammy-winning rapper in 1990, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — allowing Will Smith to shine on the small-screen as a highly skilled comedy (and occasionally dramatic) actor.

Will Smith

According to Will, the drastic change of his outlook on life caused by his cheating girlfriend during his teenage years also affected how he views the characters that he plays on the big screen.

“I believed that your girlfriend couldn’t cheat on you. It’s that really bizarre psychological leap. I’m always looking for that in my characters: What’s the bizarre psychological leap they make based on some trauma?”

Looking back on some of the roles that Will Smith has played over the years proves just that.

For instance, beneath the hilarious laughs and witty punchlines of his Fresh Prince character on TV lived a young man abandoned by his father that was trying to find his way in life with the support of his upper-class relatives.

In his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Chris Gardner in the 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happyness, Will played an ambitious dreamer struggling to achieve his goals of giving his son a life that he never had as a child, even when the odds of doing so were stacked high against him.

Will Smith

There is already a lot of buzz circulating about Will’s performance in the upcoming sports-related drama, Concussion, which is based on a true story.

However, one must also take into consideration the other successes that Will Smith has experienced over the years besides his acting career. During the three decades that have passed since that teenage heartbreak story, Will helped to bring three people into the world along with being married to Gotham actress Jada Pinkett-Smith for 15 years.

In addition, Will Smith has also been able to create a vast number of memorable hits as a solo rapper – including Men in Black, Getting Jiggy With It, Miami,Just the Two of Us & Wild Wild West.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]