Already a recognizable actor from his role on popular drama series Empire, Jussie Smollet garnered heightened attention after his reportedly attacked in a hate crime by two strangers, and then came under fire in the media when the authenticity of the attack came into question. Whether a supporter or not, none can deny that recent headlines have made Smollet a household name. But outside of the scandal and bad press, what do you actually know about the actor and singer? Take a few moments to learn more with these 25 fascinating facts about Jussie Smollet you should definitely know.
Jussie was born in Santa Rosa, California, and is the third of six children.
Jussie began his acting career as a child star in the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks.
In addition to acting and singing, Jussie is also a photographer.
Jussie’s net worth is estimated at $500 thousand.
Smollett is bi-racial, with an African American mother and a Jewish father with Russian and Polish roots.
His mother Jane Smollet was active with the Black Panther party during the civil rights era and marching alongside many well-known activities like Angela Davis.
Jussie’s mother is actually good friends with Angela Davis, and Jussie has had a direct impact in his upbringing from the activist.
Jussie has won four NAACP Image Awards, including one for his role in Empire.
Smollett openly identifies as gay, and first came out to his parents at age 19, and to the public on an interview with TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in 2015.
Jussie and his siblings all have similar names: Jazz, Jocqui, Jake, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jussie.
He and his siblings starred in their own sitcom that aired in 1994 called On Our Own. The show lasted one season and depicts their life after losing their parents and being raised by older brother played by Ralph Harris, of no relation to the Smollets.
Jussie has worked different odd jobs before hitting it big in Hollywood, including working as a waiter and a clown for kid parties.
Jussie loves to cook and considers himself very skilled in the kitchen.
Jussie has also guest starred in The Mindy Project.
Jussie was born on June 21, 1982.
His Zodiac sign is Cancer, and falls right on the Gemini-Cancer cusp.
His younger sister Jurnee is also an accomplished actress, having starred in several movies and TV shows since her youth.
The Smollet siblings came together again for television in 2017, all starring in Food Network show “Smollet Eats,” which reviewed and celebrated an array of eating styles and events.
Jussie auditioned an estimated 7 times for Empire before landing his now iconic role as Jamal Lyon.
He is said to have directly message Empire creator Lee Daniels to show is serious interest in being casted for the show.
Jussie has also made a guest appearance of TV drama series Revenge.
In 2015, Smollet signed a recording deal with Columbia Records.
Jussie as co-written songs for Empire, like “You’re So Beautiful” and “I Wanna Love You.”
Jussie’s Empire character Jamal Lyon has become iconic as a positive representation of a black gay man on national television.
Smollet directed an episode of Empire in 2017 during its fourth season.