When Did Will Smith Work With Stockard Channing on 'Six Degrees of Separation'?

Will Smith has opened up about his feelings towards actor Stockard Channing. In her upcoming memoir Will, the actor spoke of a time during his first marriage when he fell in love with the Grease star.

Smith and Channing were starring in a movie together at the time, and the actor said his dedication to method acting bled into his personal life.

When Did Will Smith Work With Stockard Channing?

The pair worked together in the movie Six Degrees of Separation, which was released in 1993.

In the film, which is based on a real-life story, Channing played a rich, Manhattan socialite who, with her husband (played by Donald Sutherland), takes in a young man, played by Smith.

The man pretends to be the son of Sidney Poitier, hustling his rich benefactors into allowing him to sleep in their home, giving him money and helping him out.

However, in the process of playing this part, Smith admitted he "fell in love" with Channing due to his dedication to the role of Paul Poitier.

In an excerpt of his new autobiography, Will, as published in People, Smith wrote of how his marriage to his first wife struggled due to this experience.

He wrote: "She'd [Sheree, Smith's first wife] married a guy named Will Smith and now she was living with a guy named Paul Poitier.

"And to make matters worse, during shooting I fell in love with Stockard Channing.

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

He has previously discussed this, saying in 2015 to Esquire that it was his focus on method acting that led him down this road.

He said: "You're actually playing around with your psychology. You teach yourself to like things and to dislike things.

"It 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 also commented on Smith's admission, saying she was "flattered" by what he said in an interview with Page Six.

At the time of Six Degrees of Separation, Smith was married to Sheree with a newborn son, Trey.

They divorced in 1995, and in 1997 he married his second wife, Jada Pinkett. Together they have two children, Jaden and Willow.

The movie was based on the true story of David Hampton, a con man who targeted rich Manhattanites during the 1980s, posing as the son of Poitier.

Some of his victims included actors Gary Sinise and Melanie Griffith, with Sinise once telling the New York Times about how Hampton turned up to Griffith's apartment, where Sinise was staying, in the early hours of a morning claiming to have missed his flight to Los Angeles.

Sinise said: "I lay back down and thought, 'This guy could rob me and kill me in my sleep.' I tried to track down Melanie and Rocky but couldn't find them.

"I told him I had a bad feeling about letting him stay. He insisted he was Sidney Poitier's son and said he had just come from a party with Diana Ross...

"I spoke to Melanie after that and she said this guy had met Rocky in Florida while he was shooting Scarface, and that he was nuts.

"He laughed. 'And I ended up sleeping in the same room with him.'"

One of Hampton's victims was a couple called Osborn and Inger Elliott, Osborn being a former editor of Newsweek. Their encounter with Hampton became the basis for the Pulitzer-winning play Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare, which was then turned into the 1993 film.

Stockard Channing and Will Smith
Stockard Channing at the Broadway Opening Night Celebration for the Roundabout Theatre Company production of "Apologia" on October 16, 2018 and Will Smith at the Los Angeles World Premiere of 'Focus' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 24, 2015. Walter McBride, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images