Will Smith Says He 'Sold Everything in Philly' After Not Paying Taxes for Two Years: ‘I Was Broke, Broke'

The actor stars alongside Martin Lawrence in 'Bad Boys: Ride or Die,' which is currently in theaters.

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Will Smith once "sold everything" he owned in his hometown of Philadelphia after the IRS discovered the actor had not pay federal taxes for two years.

Smith recently told The Kid Mero and Carmelo Anthony on their 7PM in Brooklyn podcast about a moment in the late1980s when the high of winning his first Grammy for Best Rap Performance with "Parents Just Don’t Understand" was met with a low in the form of a notice from the IRS.

"The moment I decided, I think it was ’88 and we had won a Grammy, but I had neglected to pay my taxes," Smith recalled at the 15:09 mark in the video linked above. "I was, like, the IRS gets money from everybody, they don’t need mine – but they felt differently. So I didn't pay taxes for two years and winning a Grammy and all that…so they just thought they should take my stuff. So I was a little down and I went out to L.A., I sold everything in Philly. I was broke, broke.” 

The 55-year-old actor previously opened up about his run-in with the IRS in a 2018 YouTube video. Smith revealed the unpaid taxes were the final blow after he was frivolously spending money on items, such as motorcycles, cars, and designer clothing, following the success of "Parents Just Don't Understand."

Reality set in soon after.

"We released our next album and it was, like, a flop. It was a tragedy, it went, like, double plastic," he said in the video below. "I had spent most of my money, like, I spent all my money and I didn't forget, but I didn't pay the IRS. In my mind, I wasn't trying to like, avoid taxes, I was just like, Ah, damn, they need they money."

"The IRS took all that stuff," he continued. "So, I was like, broke, broke, broke."

Smith did not stay down for long. He met someone at The Arsenio Hall Show named Benny Medina, whom he refers to as "the real-life Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Medina later became popularly known as Jennifer Lopez's manager.

Medina pitched his idea for a show that would become The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Smith. He also suggested that Will meet with another one of the show's producers, Quincy Jones. In December 1989, Smith wound up auditioning for Jones in his living room in front of guests, with little time to prepare. The success of that audition led to him landing the role of Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air that night.

Smith's appearance on 7PM in Brooklyn took place as part of a press tour for Bad Boys: Ride or Die, currently in theaters, which features the actor alongside his longtime co-star Martin Lawrence.

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