Saturday, December 4, 2021

Bring it to the table: Will Smith said he “fell in love” with Stockard Channing on set

There are worse things Will Smith could do … than fall in love with Stockard Channing’s Grease legend.

But it’s actually pretty bad considering he was married to then-wife Sheri Zampino at the time, who had just welcomed their son Trey.

Smith co-starred with Channing in one of his first major dramatic roles, playing a charming con man in the 1993 film adaptation of Six Degrees of Separation. The film gave Channing an Academy Award nomination, and apparently Smith, who devoted himself entirely to the role, fell deeply in love with Channing.

In an excerpt from his upcoming memoir Will, taken from the book People, the actor reflects on how he developed feelings for his former co-star.

“Sheri and I were in the first few months of our marriage to a newborn baby, and I can imagine that for Sheri, the experience was, to put it mildly, unsettling,” Smith writes in his book. “She married a guy named Will Smith and is now living with a guy named Paul Poitier. [the name of his character in the film]… And even worse, while filming, I fell in love with Stockard Channing. “

“After the movie finished, Cherie, Trey and I moved back to Los Angeles. The beginning of our marriage was difficult, – he continues. “I desperately wanted to see Stockard and talk to him.”

Will Smith and then-wife Sheri Smith attend the 1993 premiere of Six Degrees of Separation.

Ron Galella, LLC via Getty Images

This isn’t the first time Smith has had feelings for Channing, reflecting on the 2015 Esquire profile of the dangers of “going too far for a character.”

“So the movie ended and I went home and I really wanted to see Stockard. I thought, “Oh no! What I’ve done?’ This was my last experience with Method, where you reprogram your mind, ”he added, explaining that he will stay in character for a week. “You are actually playing with your psychology. You teach yourself to love and not to love. “

The experience forced Smith to abandon the acting method forever, but his marriage did not survive as he filed for divorce from Zampino two years after the film was released.

Channing, for example, was “very flattered” by his recognition at the time.

“I adored him at first sight because I thought he was really cute. I felt very protective of him because this was his first big job, “she told Page Six back in 2015.” It’s amazing to me to hear him think so, I’m very happy. “

Will Smith married Jada Pinkett two years after his divorce from his first wife, Sheri.
Will Smith married Jada Pinkett two years after his divorce from his first wife, Sheri.

Axel / Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Smith would, of course, marry Jada Pinkett Smith, who regularly streams the couple’s dirty linen, including discussions of extramarital affairs, on her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.” Both admitted on the show that they had a sexual relationship outside of their long-term marriage.

“We gave each other trust and freedom, believing that everyone should find their own way. And marriage for us cannot be a prison, ”Smith told GQ about their arrangement. “I am not suggesting this path to anyone. But the experience of freedom, which we gave each other, and unconditional support for me is the highest definition of love. “

Expect to hear more nuggets of wisdom in Smith’s new book, which promises to tell “a story full of one of the most amazing journeys through the worlds of music and film that anyone has ever had.”

“Will” is due out on November 9th.

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