What Will Smith and This ‘Jersey Shore’ Star Have In Common

Will Smith and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino are two very different celebrities. Smith is a talented actor, producer, and rapper, while Sorrentino is a reality television star and motivational speaker. Ironically, the two have more in common than fans might think.  

Will Smith
Will Smith | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Will Smith neglected to pay his taxes after the success of ‘Parent’s Just Don’t Understand’ 

Early in Smith’s music career, he got in trouble for tax evasion. 

“Before I was getting in trouble with Uncle Phil, I was in trouble with Uncle Sam,” Smith explained in a YouTube video. 

“Me and [DJ Jazzy] Jeff had come out with a smash hit ‘Parent’s Just Don’t Understand,'” Smith continued. The year was 1988. “We made a bunch of money, we won a Grammy, the album was triple platinum. I had motorcycles and cars.” 

Smith said he even tried to use his fame to close down a Gucci store in Atlanta so that he and his friends could shop privately. 

Sadly, Smith’s ability to enjoy his money was short-lived. “We released our next album and it was a flop — it was a tragedy,” he said. “We went like, double plastic,” he joked. 

Having spent all of his money, Smith had nothing left to pay the IRS when tax day arrived. “I didn’t forget, but I didn’t pay the IRS,” he said. “In my mind, I wasn’t trying to avoid paying taxes. I was just like ‘Oh, damn, they need their money.'” 

The IRS repossessed the cars and motorcycles Smith mentioned in the video.”Being famous and broke is a sh*tty combination,” Smith admitted. “Because you’re still famous and people recognize you, but they recognize you while you’re sitting next to them on the bus.” 

Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino spent 8 months in prison for tax evasion

Like the talented Smith, Sorrentino and his brother Marc were charged with tax fraud in 2014. Sorrentino had not paid the taxes required from some $8.9 million he earned working on the MTV reality series, Jersey Shore (via Market Watch).

RELATED: ‘Double Shot at Love’: Fans Hate the Idea of a Spinoff Featuring These Roommates

Sorrentino’s brother plead guilty for tax evasion. He was sentenced to two years in prison. Later, Sorrentino served time in prison as documented on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. 

Will Smith and Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino paid their dues and experienced success 

After Smith hit rock bottom, he said his girlfriend pushed him to get onto The Arsenio Hall Show so that he could start earning money and remedy his tax problem. As far-fetched as his girlfriend’s plan was, Smith did it anyway.

When he appeared on the show, he connected with Benny Medina, who Smith called “the real-life Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Together, they discussed the potential of a show that would become the basis for Smith’s continued success — The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Like Smith, Sorrentino experienced success after dealing with the legalities of his tax evasion case. Today, Sorrentino and his wife run a successful YouTube channel and they continue to sell Jersey Shore-inspired merchandise, too. Additionally, Sorrentino will return for the fourth season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation