Duane Martin and Will Smith: A Resilient Friendship Amidst Speculation and Separation

Within the realms of Hollywood, Duane Martin and Will Smith shine not only as accomplished actors but also as steadfast allies who’ve stood by each other through thick and thin.

Their camaraderie has its roots in the early 1990s, originating from their meeting on the set of the sitcom “Out All Night.” Since that juncture, their collaboration has extended to numerous projects, including the film “Bad Boys” and the TV series “All of Us.”

Image of Duane Martin and Will Smith
Duane Martin and Will Smith


Moreover, they’ve lent unwavering support during personal tribulations, encompassing divorce and financial turmoil.

Who is Duane Martin?

Duane Martin is an American actor, writer, producer, and former basketball player.

He has appeared in many films and television shows, such as:

  1. White Men Can’t Jump,
  2. Above the Rim,
  3. All of Us, and
  4. Real Husbands of Hollywood.

Duane Martin was married to actress Tisha Campbell-Martin for 24 years and they have two sons together.

He also owns a sports agency called Impact Sports.

Duane Martin’s Career

Martin has had a diverse and successful career as;

  1. An actor.
  2. Writer.
  3. Producer.
  4. Former basketball player.

Duane started his acting career in the early 1990s, appearing on various television sitcoms such as Out All Night, Roc, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

He also starred in several films, including:

  1. White Men Can’t Jump.
  2. Above the Rim.
  3. The Inkwell.
  4. Scream 2.

Duane Martin is best known for his role as Robert James on the UPN/CW sitcom All of Us, which was loosely based on the lives of his friends Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

He also starred as Detective Ben Baines on the FOX police-procedural series L.A.’s Finest.

Duane Martin has written, produced, and starred in several films of his own, such as:

  1. The Seat Filler.
  2. Deliver Us from Eva.
  3. Ride or Die.

He also created a company called The Momentum Experience, which distributes films in a unique way by touring them like a play.

Duane Martin has collaborated with many famous actors and celebrities, such as:

  1. Kelly Rowland.
  2. LL Cool J.
  3. Gabrielle Union.
  4. Jamie Foxx.
  5. Vivica A. Fox.

He also appeared as himself on the BET comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood and the biopic The New Edition Story.

Before pursuing an acting career, Duane Martin was a basketball player who graduated from New York University.

He played NCAA Division III basketball at NYU and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Knicks in 1989.

However, he was soon cut and never played in the NBA.

He still has a passion for sports and owns a sports agency called Impact Sports.

The Genesis of the Martin and Smith Bond

Back in 1992, Duane Martin and Will Smith’s paths converged when they both secured roles in the NBC comedy series “Out All Night.”

This show featured Patti LaBelle as a nightclub proprietor who enlisted the talents of three young performers: Martin, Smith, and Vivica A. Fox.

Although the series endured for only one season, it laid the foundation for a connection between Martin and Smith that has persevered for decades.

Collaborative Ventures of Duane Martin and Will Smith

The creative partnership of Duane Martin and Will Smith has flourished across various mediums, both on-screen and behind the scenes.

In 1995, Duane Martin and Will Smith shared the screen in the action-packed movie “Bad Boys,” helmed by director Michael Bay.

This cinematic endeavor struck a resounding chord, amassing a staggering $141 million in global box office earnings.

Their shared presence continued in the 2003 sequel, “Bad Boys II,” which achieved even greater success, raking in over $273 million worldwide.

The year 2003 also marked the collaborative creation and production of the sitcom “All of Us” by Martin and Smith.

Drawing inspiration from Duane Martin and Will Smith own lives as husbands and fathers, the show centered on Duane Martin’s portrayal of TV journalist Robert James, who navigates the complexities of co-parenting with his ex-wife Neesee (embodied by Tisha Campbell-Martin, Smith’s real-life spouse) and his present wife Tia (brought to life by Elise Neal).

Will Smith assumed an executive producer role and made occasional appearances as himself.

The series enjoyed a four-season run on UPN and The CW.

Mutual Support Between Duane Martin and Will Smith

Duane Martin and Will Smith have offered unwavering backing during each other’s personal trials throughout the years.

In 2016, Martin and Campbell-Martin filed for bankruptcy, disclosing liabilities exceeding $15 million and assets totaling a mere $313,000.

Duane Martin and Will Smith separation in 2018, culminating a 22-year marriage, also marked a challenging chapter.

During this trying period, reports indicate that Will Smith extended financial assistance to Duane Martin, furnishing him with financial aid and a place to stay at his residence.

Will Smith himself encountered marital difficulties, with revelations of a brief separation in 2015, during which Campbell-Martin engaged in a connection with singer August Alsina.

Will Smith, too, conceded to marital unfaithfulness at some point during their union.

However, the couple managed to surmount these hurdles and remain united.

Duane Martin, being the steadfast friend he is, endorsed Will Smith’s decision to stand by his wife, praising their transparency and courage.



Duane Martin and Will Smith transcend the boundaries of mere colleagues, embodying a brotherly bond forged through the vicissitudes of their careers and personal journeys.

Their alliance has weathered conjecture regarding a rumored same-sex relationship, fervently denied by both parties.

Their unity has also remained unshaken amid the throes of divorce and financial upheaval.

Furthermore, they’ve celebrated each other’s triumphs, from accolades to the joys of parenthood.

In essence, their enduring connection stands as an embodiment of an authentic Hollywood friendship that has spanned nearly three decades.


Facts about Duane Martin and Will Smith

Fact Duane Martin Will Smith
Full Name Duane Martin Willard Carroll Smith Jr.
Date of Birth August 11, 1965 September 25, 1968
Birthplace Brooklyn, New York, USA Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Occupation Actor, Comedian, Producer Actor, Rapper, Producer
Notable Works “All of Us,” “Above the Rim” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,”
“Men in Black,” “Independence Day”
Spouse Tisha Campbell (divorced) Jada Pinkett Smith
Children 2 (Sisters Ezekiel and Xen) 3 (Jaden, Willow, and Trey)
Career Start Early 1990s Late 1980s (music), early 1990s (acting)
Awards None notable 2 Academy Award nominations
Music Career Was part of the hip-hop group “Groove B. Chill” Successful rapper (The Fresh Prince)
Other Ventures Co-founder of “Impact Basketball” Co-owner of Overbrook Entertainment
(film and television production)
Social Media Presence Limited Active on various platforms