Here’s everything to know about their childhood together and their relationship with the 'King Richard' star
Will Smith has a lot of love for his three siblings, who he grew up alongside in West Philadelphia.
The Bad Boys for Life star is the second of four siblings, with older sister Pamela and younger twin siblings named Harry and Ellen. They were all born to dad Willard Carroll Smith Sr. and mom Caroline Bright. They also have a half-sister, Ashley Marie Pettway, whom their dad later welcomed after splitting from Caroline when Will was a teenager.
While he’s described his early home life as “tense,” Will appears to maintain close relationships with his siblings, whom he’s shared occasional photos of on social media. While his sisters mostly stay out of the spotlight, Harry frequently posts about his life, travels and children on his Instagram.
Here’s everything to know about Pamela, Harry and Ellen, and their relationship with the King Richard star.
Will and his siblings were raised in Philadelphia
Will was born to Willard Sr., the owner of a refrigeration firm, and Caroline, a school board administrator, on Sept. 25, 1968, in West Philadelphia. He was the second child in the family; older sister Pamela was born in 1964, and the two were later joined by twin siblings Harry and Ellen in 1971.
They grew up in a middle-class family, where Willard Sr. “was able to keep four kids fed and clothed and still managed to find time to spend with us,” Will once told PEOPLE, explaining that his dad in turn inspired him to be present in his own children’s lives. (The actor is a dad of three: he shares son Trey with ex-wife Sheree Zampino, and son Jaden and daughter Willow with wife Jada Pinkett Smith).
Will’s relationship with his father was fraught from a young age, with the actor later describing him as “violent" yet also supportive and present with his kids. He detailed the ups and downs of growing up under his roof in his 2021 memoir Will.
"My father was violent, but he was also at every game, play and recital. He was an alcoholic, but he was sober at every premiere of every one of my movies," the actor wrote. "He listened to every record. He visited every studio. The same intense perfectionism that terrorized his family put food on the table every night of my life."
Will also opened up about a traumatic experience involving his parents, which has largely shaped the person he is today.
"When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw her spit blood. That moment in that bedroom, probably more than any other moment in my life, has defined who I am."
Willard Sr. and Caroline split when Will was a teen, and they ultimately divorced in 2000.
They were all close from a young age
The Smith siblings have always stuck together, whether navigating punishments at home or Will’s rise to stardom.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air star would always try to entertain his younger siblings during their fathers’ outbursts, Harry previously recounted to PEOPLE. “Will was punished first because he’s older,” he explained. “Then he’d go around a corner and make faces, so we’d laugh — and we’d get punished worse.”
Later, when Will’s rap career began to take off in the late ‘80s, he found himself jetting off to far-flung destinations while on tour.
Despite being far from home, Ellen told PEOPLE that he would always call to check in while traveling, and to let them know that he was safe.
Will's younger siblings are twins
Will’s younger siblings were both born on May 5, 1971. The pair share a close bond, often posting photos of the quality time they spend together and with their family. For their 52nd birthday in 2023, Harry shared a sweet photo of the pair laughing and smiling side by side.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLLL!!! 🎂🎉,” he wrote alongside the joyful shot, adding hashtags including “#Twins” and “#Blessed.”
The pair see each other throughout the year and often share photos together whenever they meet up. In the past, they’ve enjoyed pool days together back in Philly and snapped selfies at a dinner during a family vacation to Miami in June 2021. “Somebody is always messin’ up the picture!” Harry playfully captioned a selfie of himself, Ellen and Will, who pulled a face for the photo.
To celebrate both of their 50th birthdays in 2021, Harry shared a thoughtful tribute to his twin, calling her “wonderfully artistic and stylish.” He gushed, “I’ve always admired your ability to have a good time no matter where you are or what circumstances you may be encountering. I love you and I’m so proud of your journey.”
Harry is a doting father of two
Harry is a proud dad of two kids: daughter Sydney and son Langston. He welcomed Sydney with ex Melissa Montoya on August 18, 1999. The former pair joined together to celebrate their daughter’s birthday in 2023, sharing an elaborate meal at Los Angeles hotspot Taisho.
“I love these two!!! Being father to @sydneytaylorsmith and Langston has been the single greatest joy of my life,” Harry wrote on Instagram alongside a selfie of the sibling duo. “It’s so interesting to watch your children and realize that they are crazy, just like you!"
Harry has worked with his brother over the years
Will and Harry have partnered together on a number of ventures over the years.
Back in 1996, Harry worked as an accountant and was responsible for Will’s finances. In the decades since, the pair have teamed up on real estate projects and for work for Will and Jada’s entertainment company, Overbrook Entertainment.
Will's older sister Pamela runs a boutique in Philadelphia
Pamela, who goes by the nickname Pam, continues to live in Philly, where she owns and operates a retail store called Pash Boutique. The store specializes in jewelry, purses, hats and more.
While Pam has largely stayed out of the spotlight, she still gets to see her siblings at big family gatherings, including their celebration of their mom’s 84th birthday in 2021, in which she posed for photos alongside her three siblings.
She also was present for niece Sydney’s birthday dinner in August 2023, where she smiled in group photos alongside her extended family.
Will's sister Ellen is the CEO of a women’s empowerment charity
Ellen has held a number of roles throughout her career.
According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s a licensed cosmetology instructor, mom and philanthropist, as well as the CEO and Founder of a foundation she created called Dining with Divas.
The charity aims to support women and their families “in crisis or distress,” she wrote. It was born out of her initial charity project, Mother’s Day at the Mansion, which she first launched in 2004, she recounted on an episode of celebrity talk show Celebrities in the Basement. The annual luncheon gives mothers in difficult circumstances a place to gather and celebrate Mother’s Day, according to Ellen, who noted that she would bring women from local homeless shelters in for catered meals, spa treatments, performances and more.
Will has shown support for her events, speaking at the 2014 edition, which supported Autism Awareness. “Most people think that I don’t have to work hard for my accomplishments,” Ellen wrote on an older Instagram account, adding, “That could not be further from the truth.”
She went on to explain that she wasn’t handed anything, and that arranging for him to be the speaker required much back and forth with his assistant. “Thank you Bro bro for believing in me,” she wrote, adding, “Sometimes someone believing in you is all the motivation you need.”
Will shared a rare public tribute to his younger siblings for their 50th birthday
To celebrate Harry and Ellen’s milestone 50th birthday in 2021, Will shared a sweet family snap of the siblings, including a rare appearance from their older sister Pamela.
"My little brother & sister are 50 today! Damn," the Aladdin star wrote in the caption, drawing arrows on the photo to point out his twin siblings.
Ellen spent her special day with loved ones, sharing a video on Instagram of a floral arrangement that had been sent to her, writing, “"Yesssss!! Happy birthday to me! 🎂🎂🎂. This is how it's going ... I'm excited about the turn out. #50 and amazing! 🙏🏿.” She tagged Will, Harry, Pamela, and other friends and family members in the caption.
For his part, Harry celebrated with a lavish party aboard a yacht in Dubai, which appeared to be a surprise gift from Will. "A little surprise 50th Bday boating!!! Thanks @willsmith for this wonderful outing and for always being there when I needed you most. I am so blessed to have reached this milestone," Harry wrote in the caption.
Harry later returned the favor for Will’s 54th birthday in September 2022, sharing a slideshow of photos of the pair over the years on Instagram. “I want to just take a moment and thank him for being a loving, supportive, and most of all, inspirational force in my life! I love you man!!!” Harry wrote alongside throwback shots of the pair traveling together, as well as photos of them golfing, playing board games and celebrating Will’s Oscar win.
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