Jaden Smith was born in Malibu, California, on July 8, 1998. His parents are the actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and singer Willow Smith is his younger sister. Smith made his acting debut in the 2006 film The Pursuit of Happyness. He subsequently starred in remakes of The Karate Kid and The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Actor Jaden Christopher Syre Smith was born on July 8, 1998 in Los Angeles, California. Smith has an exceptional acting pedigree. His father, Will Smith, has starred in such films as Independence Day, Men in Black and Ali and is one of the world's most successful and popular actors. His mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, is also a highly successful actress who has starred in The Nutty Professor, The Matrix trilogy and Collateral. Despite their celebrity status, Smith's parents have attempted to give him a normal upbringing.
Speaking about raising Jaden and his siblings (older half-brother Trey and younger sister Willow), Jada Pinkett Smith said, "We want them to see the reality of life and have a normal experience of having to stand in line and get tickets." The Smith children volunteer regularly at orphanages and nursing homes and donate their belongings to charity. "My kids are very willing to give things away because they understand that they have such abundance; they don't have to hoard," their mother says.
Smith studies with a tutor and, acting career notwithstanding, experiences the normal joys and grievances of any young boy. His favorite subject is math—"because I'm good at it," Smith says—and his favorite activity is "hanging out with my friends." He calls himself a "mama's boy" but complains that his little sister bullies him and his parents always take her side.
Alongside his seemingly normal childhood, Smith enjoys a second life as an emerging Hollywood star. He made his acting debut in 2003, at the tender age of 6, on All of Us, a UPN show created by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and based on their own blended family. Not long after, Jaden made his big screen debut in the The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness depicts the life of Christopher Gardner, a homeless salesman whose intelligence and perseverance eventually allow him to become a wealthy stockbroker.
Starring opposite his real-life dad, Jaden portrayed Gardner's son, Christopher Jr., who is forced to live on the streets with his father. The young Smith won universal acclaim for his nuanced and heartwarming performance. The New York Times called him "likable in the extreme," and he won an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance.
In 2008, Smith struck out on his own to make his first performances in projects not involving his parents. In April of that year, he guest starred in an episode of the Disney Channel's popular show The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. Next, he appeared opposite Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly in a remake of the classic science fiction thriller The Day the Earth Stood Still, earning a Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor.
Smith landed his biggest role to date in 2010, starring alongside Jackie Chan in a remake of the 1984 coming-of-age classic, The Karate Kid. Smith plays Dre Parker, a 12-year-old Detroit native who moves to China to study martial arts with a kung fu master, so that he can face down the bullies who torment him. The film was a box-office smash, earning Smith praise for his impressive acting and kung fu skills. Chan praised Smith's dedication to his martial arts training, saying, "He put my son to shame!" Smith also ventured into the world of music in conjunction with his work on the film, recording its official theme song, "Never Say Never," in partnership with child pop sensation Justin Bieber. In 2014 it was announced Smith and Chan would partner up again for a Karate Kid sequel.
Smith is precocious in more than just his acting ability. After months of intensive martial arts training, he developed the physique of a much older boy, and he has also earned a reputation as a lively and witty interview subject. ("Do you know how to sew? 'Cause I'm ripped," he quipped to an interviewer.) Father Will Smith admits, "This kid is funnier than I was at his age. But then, he did have me as a father."
By the time he turned 12, Smith had achieved levels of success that most actors only dream about. All three of his films debuted at No. 1 at the North American box office. He is working on another film—a drama titled Amulet, with his little sister Willow. Jaden, who prefers action movies to dramas, claims that the film is not exactly his style. "I don't like movies that make you cry," he says. "But if girls like dramas, then I'll do it!"
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