25 Fascinating Facts About Jussie Smollett You Should Know

Posted by , Updated on October 1, 2022

An intriguing list: 25 Fascinating Facts About Jussie Smollett! Whether you are a seasoned fan or a new follower, you may have noticed the Empire star making news headlines.

Actor and singer Justin “Jussie” Smollett took center stage in a bizarre case involving an alleged attack he staged. The uproar of his 2019 scandal has left fans and strangers alike reeling.

So, how much do you know about Smollett? Find out more in our list 25 Fascinating Facts About Jussie Smollett


Family Life


Justin “Jussie” Smollett was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. Growing up, he was the third of six children to Janet Harris and Joel Smollett. His three brothers and two sisters all sport similar names: Jack, Jocqui, Jojo, Jurnee, and Jazz.


Net Worth


As an actor, singer, and photographer, Smollett has a net worth of $500 thousand.




Smollett is biracial, his mother African-American and his father was Ashkenazi Jewish. Smollet’s father’s family had emigrated from Russia and Poland.




Though he grew up in California, Smollett is open about the fact that his biography says he is from “Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.”

He says the error is funny and makes him feel exotic, but he has always been honest about his upbringing.


The Beginning


He began his acting career as a child, featuring in the films The Mighty Ducks (1992) and North (1994). He and all his siblings even starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own from 1994 to 1995.


Musically Inclined


In 2012, Smollett released his EP titled The Poisoned Hearts Club. In 2018, the budding singer followed up with Sum of My Music, his debut album.  The album was self-released through his own label called Music of Sound.


A Star is Born


Smollett has won several awards throughout his acting career. In 1993, he was awarded the Young Artist Award in the category of Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture.

2015 saw him win the BET Awards and Teen Choice Awards. In 2016 he won the NAACP Image Awards in several categories, and in 2017, a second Teen Choice Awards.


Love is Love


Smollett came out to his parents as gay when he was 19, and publicly in March 2015 during a televised interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

He has since stated his belief that openness to love is more important than gender, and that “If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.”


Creative Expression


His character on Empire, Jamal Lyon, is also portrayed as gay, but later engages in a tryst with a female character.

Smollett, along with the show’s creator Lee Daniels, said that the interaction was an expression of their own sexual fluidity. The development was meant to start a conversation among the gay community.


License and Registration, Please


Though now well known for the 2019 Chicago incident, Smollett had run-ins with the law before.

In 2007, he pleaded no contest to giving a false name to police when pulled over for drunk driving. He was later sentenced to a fine and two years of probation.


The Attack


On January 22, 2019, Smollett received an anonymous letter threatening him. A few days later, he was allegedly attacked by two assailants who wearing MAGA hats.

Smollett reported that they attacked him wearing ski masks, called him racial slurs, and poured an unknown liquid on him before putting a noose around his neck.


Friends in High Places


In the following days, fellow celebrities expressed their support and outrage over the incident. Hollywood powerhouse players including Shonda Rhimes and Viola Davis took to Twitter to share their views. 

Even democratic senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker expressed that the attack was an attempt at a modern-day lynching.


The Plot Thickens


Despite his online support, Smollett faced skepticism regarding his claim of the assault, and in February 2019, underwent an investigation.


Further Questioning


Smollett was later detained under suspicion of filing a false police report. He allegedly paid persons of interest to stage the assault as a means to further his career in a publicity stunt because he was unhappy with his salary.


A Friend in Need


On February 20th, Jussie Smollett was charged with a class 4 felony of filing a false police report, and the next day surrendered himself to Chicago Police Department.

His bail was set at $100,000. A friend of the actor paid a $10,000 bond and on February 21st, Smollett was released from custody.


Friends or Foes?


The two assailants were found to be Nigerian brothers who were extras on the same show Smollett found fame on, the Fox drama series Empire. They were even found to have spent time with Smollett at the gym.


Plan B


Evidence soon surfaced that Smollett paid the two brothers to stage the attack after the threatening letter he received did not insight as much attention as he wanted it to.


The Bribe


The brothers later admitted to police that Smollett had indeed paid the brothers to stage the assault, to the tune of $3,500. However, further investigation put the payoff money into question. 


What Happened to Jamal Lyon?


Smollett’s character on Empire, Jamal Lyon, was subsequently removed from the last two episodes of the show’s fifth season. Those episodes had not yet been aired.


The Drug Problem


Smollet is candid about his drug use including Ecstasy.   


Chicago Didn't Earn This


The police department of Chicago took the event very seriously. Smollet currently resides in the city and officials were on high alert when the alleged incident took place.

However, when news broke he was the one who allegedly masterminded the entire event,  the police superintendent Eddie T. Johnson was furious.

He stated that use of the symbolism of the noose and false claims was to “slap everyone in the city in the face” and that the accusations were “a scar” that “Chicago…didn’t earn.”




On March 26th, 2019, all charges filed against Smollett were dropped and his criminal record was expunged.


An Unfair Call


Police sources have said that the department spent up to six figures in overtime investigating the Smollett case, and are furious that charges have been dropped.


The President's Thoughts


President Donald Trump was angered that his supporters were not portrayed as victims in the incident, and asked the Empire star, “What about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous crimes?”


Standing By His Word

Jessie Smollet Facts 1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jussie_Smollett

Smollett has stood firm and unyielding in his conviction. The actor said, “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of doing what I was accused of.”

Jessie Smollet added, “I’d like nothing more than to just get back to work and move on with my life, but make no mistakes I will always continue to fight for the justice, equality, and betterment of marginalized people everywhere.”

Photo: 1. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jussie_Smollett_(26362136311).jpg, CC BY 2.0, 2. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jussie_Smollett_2018.png, CC BY 3.0, 3. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amit_Paley_and_Jussie_Smollett_at_LoveLoud_2018_(44222374242).jpg, CC BY 2.0, 4. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amit_Paley_and_Jussie_Smollett_at_LoveLoud_2018_(42462968190).jpg, CC BY 2.0, 5. Instagram, 6. Instagram, 7. Instagram, 8. Instagram, 9. Instagram, 10. Instagram, 11. Instagram, 12. Instagram, 13. Instagram, 14. Instagram, 15. Instagram, 16. Instagram, 17. Instagram, 18. Instagram, 19. Instagram, 20. Instagram, CC BY 2.0, 21. Instagram, 22. Instagram, 23. Instagram, 24. Instagram, 25. Instagram
Show Us Your Love
Join Over 2 Million+ List25 Fans