It’s not easy to grow up with the eyes of America watching you, but that’s exactly what happened to actor Jaden Smith. Born on July 8, 1998, he is the youngest son of actress Jada Pinkett Smith and actor/musician Will Smith. Named Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, he grew up in the Hollywood limelight with his older sister Willow and older half-brother Trey.
Both of his parents experienced a high level of success in Hollywood. His mother previously appeared in “The Matrix” and “The Nutty Professor,” while his father starred in “Men in Black” and “Independence Day.” His father gained fans as a teenage rapper and spent many of his early twenties on the television show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Knowing the issues that younger kids face in Hollywood, his parents decided to raise them out of the limelight. While Jaden sometimes made appearances at movie premiers, his family worked hard to keep his personal life private.
His mother Jada admitted in interviews that she wanted their children to understand that the glitz and glamor is a far cry from what most ordinary Americans faced. At an early age, Jaden volunteered at different organizations, and he occasionally donated some of his toys to charities. Jaden also began working with a tutor in a home schooling setting. Though he occasionally attends class at a school in New York, he usually works with a tutor at home or on film sets.
Jaden decided to try his hand at acting at a young age. When he was just six, he appeared on six episodes of “All of Us.” The television show, which ran on the now defunct network UPN, was the brainchild of his parents. Will, who had a child by another woman, and Jada worked hard to raise his son with their children, and they used their struggles as the basis for the show. Jaden then made the leap to the big screen, starring as Will’s son in the Oscar-nominated film “The Pursuit of Happyness.” His father received an Academy Award nomination for the role, while Jaden picked up a Breakthrough Performance MTV Movie Award. Eagle-eyed viewers will also notice Jaden in a cameo role in 2002’s “Men in Black II.”
Like many actors with famous families, Jaden wanted to prove that he could land roles without the help of his parents. He appeared in “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody,” and he had a major role in the film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Though the film received mixed reviews, he had the chance to work alongside Jennifer Connelly and Keanu Reeves. Jaden won the Best Performance by a Younger Actor at that year’s Saturn Awards.
The biggest role of his career came in 2010 when he landed a role in “The Karate Kid.” Jaden played the classic fish-out-of-water character in this remake of the 1984 film, portraying a young man forced to move from Detroit to China. After meeting a kung fu expert (Jackie Chan), he learns how to stand up for himself and battle against the bullies in his new town. “The Karate Kid” was the top film in its opening weekend and grossed millions of dollars at the box office, making him an instant star.
Jaden hopes to keep his string of successes going with two films slated for release in 2013 and 2014. One of those films is “Amulat.”Will Smith’s production company purchased the rights to the story, based on a graphic novel of the same name. After casting Jaden in the leading role, the film stalled due to issues with his career. Jaden still plans to do the film after clearing his schedule, and the production company hopes to start and finish filming in early 2014.
Fans can also look forward to the upcoming release of “After Earth.” Starring Will and Jaden as father and son, the film tells the story of what happens when people leave the planet behind. The duo head to Earth on a simple mission, but when their ship crash lands, the two find themselves stranded in unfamiliar territory with an alien hot on their trail. With Will’s history of box office success and Jaden’s three number-one films, “After Earth” seems poised to become a hit.
While he’s a popular and successful actor, Jaden is still just a kid at heart. He appeared alongside good friend Justin Bieber in “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” and he recently turned heads for going on a series of dates with Kendall Jenner. He also admits to loving math, basketball, and hanging out with his friends. With several films in production, Jaden will keep gaining fans as his career progresses.