Some people are only just learning that Will Smith's name isn't short for 'William'

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By stefan armitage

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Despite being one of the most talked about and recognizable stars on the planet, it seems that some people are only just learning Will Smith's real name.

The Men In Black star has been in the headlines a lot over the last few months following revelations about his marriage featured in Jada Pinkett Smith's memoir, Worthy.

And after an acting and music career spanning decades - including hit TV shows, critically acclaimed roles, and even an Oscar win - you'd all think we'd know Will Smith's full name by now. Well, it turns out that some fans are only just getting the memo.

The 55-year-old Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star goes by Will Smith, and many people would assume that Will is short for the name William, but this is not the case for the star. (Even though, in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 'Will' is actually short for William Smith - just to add further confusion.)

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Credit: Nicky J Sims / Getty

In real life, however, Smith was actually born Willard Carroll Smith Jr. - named after his father, Willard Carroll Smith, Sr. And there are apparently a couple of reasons why Smith decided to shorten his name to Will.

Firstly, Market Research Telecast suggests that Smith wanted his name to be shorter so audiences could easily remember it. "Will Smith" - two punchy syllables. But the name 'Will Smith' was also a suggestion from one of the actor's most beloved co-stars.

On his Snapchat show, Will At Home, Smith revealed it had been his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Riberio - who played Carlton Banks - who suggested he be known as Will Smith.

Per CheatSheet, Smith said: “It was such a deep insight that you had. You said, ‘Because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life.’”

Prior to the hit sitcom, the rapper was known by the stage name The Fresh Prince, alongside his musical collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Pinkett Smith also alerted fans to Will's real name in a touching birthday post back in September.

In a post celebrating the star turning 55, Pinkett Smith shared a throwback black-and-white family photo of the couple with Will's oldest son Trey - whom he shares with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino - as well as the couple's two children: Jaden and Willow.

"Willard I am so glad you were born on this day," Jada penned. "Without you, I would not have experienced the greatest joy of my life… the love of our family."

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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty

She further expressed her gratitude for the "wells of laughter along the trails of tears we’ve shared" on their "divine assignment," thanking Will for teaching her how to embrace it all "with a smile", adding: "Here’s to 100+ more birthdays full of growth, acceptance, and joy."

And social media users have been flooding X with posts expressing their disbelief over the revelation: "YOU’RE TELLING ME HIS NAME IS WILLARD SMITH? NOT WILLIAM? I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN IGNORANT BLISS," one person tweeted.

"I was today years old when I found out that Will is short for Willard Smith and not William Smith," another wrote.

A third added: "Had to google Will Smith for something and his name is Willard Smith????? Not William but Willard".

But Will isn't the only member of the Smith family whose name has caused a stir. Some people are only just learning why his children Jaden and Willow have those unique names.

Featured image credit: Jim Spellman / Getty

Some people are only just learning that Will Smith's name isn't short for 'William'

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Despite being one of the most talked about and recognizable stars on the planet, it seems that some people are only just learning Will Smith's real name.

The Men In Black star has been in the headlines a lot over the last few months following revelations about his marriage featured in Jada Pinkett Smith's memoir, Worthy.

And after an acting and music career spanning decades - including hit TV shows, critically acclaimed roles, and even an Oscar win - you'd all think we'd know Will Smith's full name by now. Well, it turns out that some fans are only just getting the memo.

The 55-year-old Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star goes by Will Smith, and many people would assume that Will is short for the name William, but this is not the case for the star. (Even though, in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 'Will' is actually short for William Smith - just to add further confusion.)

size-full wp-image-1263236751
Credit: Nicky J Sims / Getty

In real life, however, Smith was actually born Willard Carroll Smith Jr. - named after his father, Willard Carroll Smith, Sr. And there are apparently a couple of reasons why Smith decided to shorten his name to Will.

Firstly, Market Research Telecast suggests that Smith wanted his name to be shorter so audiences could easily remember it. "Will Smith" - two punchy syllables. But the name 'Will Smith' was also a suggestion from one of the actor's most beloved co-stars.

On his Snapchat show, Will At Home, Smith revealed it had been his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star Alfonso Riberio - who played Carlton Banks - who suggested he be known as Will Smith.

Per CheatSheet, Smith said: “It was such a deep insight that you had. You said, ‘Because people are going to call you that for the rest of your life.’”

Prior to the hit sitcom, the rapper was known by the stage name The Fresh Prince, alongside his musical collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff.

Pinkett Smith also alerted fans to Will's real name in a touching birthday post back in September.

In a post celebrating the star turning 55, Pinkett Smith shared a throwback black-and-white family photo of the couple with Will's oldest son Trey - whom he shares with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino - as well as the couple's two children: Jaden and Willow.

"Willard I am so glad you were born on this day," Jada penned. "Without you, I would not have experienced the greatest joy of my life… the love of our family."

wp-image-1263230455 size-full
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Getty

She further expressed her gratitude for the "wells of laughter along the trails of tears we’ve shared" on their "divine assignment," thanking Will for teaching her how to embrace it all "with a smile", adding: "Here’s to 100+ more birthdays full of growth, acceptance, and joy."

And social media users have been flooding X with posts expressing their disbelief over the revelation: "YOU’RE TELLING ME HIS NAME IS WILLARD SMITH? NOT WILLIAM? I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN IGNORANT BLISS," one person tweeted.

"I was today years old when I found out that Will is short for Willard Smith and not William Smith," another wrote.

A third added: "Had to google Will Smith for something and his name is Willard Smith????? Not William but Willard".

But Will isn't the only member of the Smith family whose name has caused a stir. Some people are only just learning why his children Jaden and Willow have those unique names.

Featured image credit: Jim Spellman / Getty