Who is Duane Martin amid Will Smith sex claims?

Duane Martin and Will Smith’s close friendship is under scrutiny (Picture: Getty Images)

Duane Martin was best known for his film and TV roles in the 90s and noughties, but he’s been thrust into the spotlight again thanks to rumours about his relationship with Will Smith

The two Hollywood stars have been lifelong friends after meeting on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but their friendship has been scrutinised following claims from Smith’s former assistant, who claimed he saw the two having sex

At the time of the alleged encounter, Smith was married to Jada Pinkett Smith while Martin was also married to Tisha Campbell. 

Smith, 55, has vehemently denied the ‘fabricated’ allegations and has suggested he might take legal action. 

Martin, 58, has yet to speak out about the controversy but all eyes are on the actor, who is typically out of the public eye these days… 

Who is Duane Martin? 

Martin, 58, is yet to address the controversial rumour (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, is an American actor best known for starring in a string of hit movies and TV shows since the early 90s. 

However, before he got his start in acting, Martin played basketball at NYU and even signed as an undrafted free agent to a non-guaranteed contract in the NBA with the New York Knicks in 1989. 

Fate had other plans though and Martin, who is said to be around 5ft8, was cut from the team and never actually played in the NBA. 

What movies and TV shows has he been in? 

Martin became a household name in the 90s when he landed his big-screen breakout role in the classic movie White Men Can’t Jump, in which he starred as Willie Lewis alongside Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes. 

By then, he had garnered some popularity having appeared in TV shows such as Out All Night, and a starring role in Boyz II Men’s music video for their iconic ballad I’ll Make Love To You. 

Smith and Martin have been lifelong best friends (Picture: WireImage)
Martin is best known for his film and TV roles in the 90s (Picture: Getty Images)

Other early appearances include the Fox sitcom Getting Personal opposite Jon Cryer and Vivica A Fox and the films Above The Rim, The Inkwell, Scream 2, The Faculty and Any Given Sunday. 

In more recent years, Duane was a member of the ensemble cast of the comedy series Real Husbands of Hollywood, alongside Kevin Hart, Nick Cannon, Robin Thicke and Boris Kodjoe. 

Is Duane Martin married? 

Martin was married to former My Wife and Kids actress Tisha Campbell, with the two tying the knot on August 17, 1996. They appeared to be one of the strongest couples in Hollywood and the epitome of Black love and shared two children – sons Xen Martin born August 8, 2001 and Ezekiel Czar Martin born September 8, 2009. 

However, Campbell, 55, announced their split in 2018 after more than 20 years of marriage and filed for divorce. 

When the divorce was finalised two years later, she told People in a statement at the time: ‘I was married for over 20 years and out of that I was blessed with two AMAZING kid[s]. Beyond that, l’m the happiest I’ve ever been.’ 

Martin and actress Tisha Campbell were married for over 20 years (Picture: Getty Images)
The former couple share two children (Picture: Getty Images)
Fans were devastated when the formerly loved-up couple split in 2018 (Picture: WireImage)

The split wasn’t amicable but the former couple agreed that neither would pay spousal or child support and that they would equally split expenses for their youngest child, including healthcare and education. 

The couple had previously filed for bankruptcy and both were forced to turnover their financial records after being accused of hiding $50,000. 

Sharing insight into the reason for the marriage breakdown, a source claimed: ‘Sometimes couples just fall out of love.’ 

How did Duane Martin and Will Smith become friends? 

Martin appeared in one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air in 1993 and met the hit sitcom’s lead star Smith on set. 

From there, they became one of the closest double acts in Hollywood with their close friendship well known. 

Smith, here with Kevin Hart (r), has denied the claims he had sex with Martin (Picture: WireImage)

It’s not clear where the romance rumours first emerged but it’s assumed they merely stemmed from how close the actors were. 

Campbell was accused of fuelling the speculation when she posted online in 2020: ‘Don’t have to say a word… God reveals ALL Can’t put a spin on that!’ 

However, she later appeared to deny this and wrote on Twitter: ‘Usually I ignore negativity but I’m tired of the media attacking TheSmiths. They’re n amazing couple n I wish ppl wld stop perpetuatin LIES N LEAVE THEM ALONE!’ 

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Martin’s reps for comment.

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