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Will Smith says he ‘fell in love’ with Stockard Channing in book

It was love at first take.

Will Smith’s new memoir “Will” is full of anecdotes from the actor’s life — from his journey to parenthood as well as insight into his two marriages and Hollywood success.

In an excerpt published by People, the 53-year-old admitted that he had a crush on actress Stockard Channing during the filming of their 1993 drama, “Six Degrees of Separation.”

Smith, who was 25, was married to his first wife Sheree Zampino and they had just welcomed their son Trey, now 29, at the time.

“Sheree and I were in the first few months of our marriage with a brand-new baby and for Sheree, I can imagine that this experience was unsettling to say the least,” the “Switch” singer wrote. “She’d married a guy named Will Smith and now she was living with a guy named Paul Poitier [his character’s name].

“And to make matters worse, during shooting I fell in love with Stockard Channing,” Smith confessed.

“After the film wrapped, Sheree and Trey and I moved back to L.A,” he continued. “Our marriage was off to a rocky start. I found myself desperately yearning to see and speak to Stockard.” 

Smith and Channing in 1993’s “Six Degrees of Separation.”
©MGM/Courtesy Everett Collectio

In 2015, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star spoke to Esquire about Channing, 77, and his experiences with method acting on the set of their film.

“With ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ I got a taste early of the dangers of going too far for a character,” he told the publication at the time. “My character was in love with Stockard Channing’s character. And I actually fell in love with Stockard Channing.”

He added, “[Method acting] is a really dangerous place when you get good at it. But once I had that experience, I was like, No more method acting. I was spending — for ‘Six Degrees,’ I wanted to perform well so badly that I was spending six and seven and eight days in character before shooting, and you have to be careful with that.” 

Channing responded to Smith’s words in March 2015, telling Page Six that the feeling was mutual.

“That’s a wonderful thing,” she said. “I adored him from the first time I laid eyes on him because I thought he was genuinely sweet. I felt very protective of him, because it was his first big job. It’s amazing for me to hear that he felt that way, I’m delighted.”

“Will” is available on bookshelves starting Nov. 9.

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