• Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA on 27 November 1952
• Wife of the late Joel Smollett, and mother of actors Jussie Smollett and Jurnee Smollett and chef and television personality Jake Smollett
• Net Worth estimated to be over $250,000
• Actively involved in the US Civil Rights movement
• Caught up in controversy surrounding her son Jussie's false report of assault and police investigation into why the charges were dropped
Who is Janet Smollett?
Janet Harris was born on 27 November 1952, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and is best known for being the wife of the late Joel Smollett, and the mother of actors Jussie Smollett and Jurnee Smollett, and of chef and television personality Jake Smollett. She’s attracted media attention thanks to the success of her children.
The Net Worth of Janet Smollett
As of late-2019, Janet Smollett has a net worth estimated to be over $250,000.
She probably benefits from the success of her children with Jussie having a net worth estimated to be over $500,000, Jurnee over $2 million, while Jake has a net worth of at least $5 million.
Life and Career
Janet grew up in New Orleans, and for much of her youth she was a very vocal activist, participating in numerous US Civil Rights movements. She worked with several other activists during this time, including Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
She later met Joel Smollett, a man of Jewish descent, who grew up in California.
They married and had six children. As their children grew up, she was the main parent in the house due to her husband going away to work. She helped build her children’s confidence, exploring their interests in dancing, singing, acting and performing, and cooking. She supported her children’s desire to try their hand at their respective careers which boded well for most of them. Being considered one of the best cooks in the family, she collaborated with her son Jake, and released a cookbook called “The Family Table: Recipes and Moments From a Nomadic Life” in 2018, and is part cookbook part autobiography, following the lives of their family as they traveled around the country due to her late husband’s work.
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Daughter – Jurnee Smollett
Jurnee Smollett’s career began as a child with minor roles in television sitcoms. In 1994, she appeared alongside her siblings in the television show “On Our Own” which ran for a year, canceled due to low ratings. This did not stop her, as she had more opportunities leading to her leading role in the independent film “Eve’s Bayou”, for which performance she was praised by many, and won a Critic’s Choice Award.
In 2007 she starred in the film “The Great Debaters”, alongside Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington, which told the story of the Wiley College debate team. She was then cast in a regular role in “Friday Night Lights” which ran from 2009 to 2011, before she had a season-long role in “True Blood”, followed in 2013 with another lead role in “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor”. In 2016, she became a part of the period series “Underground” playing a house slave named Rosalee, with her performance winning three NAACP Image Awards. One of her latest projects is the film “Birds of Prey”, in which she was cast as the superhero Black Canary.
Son – Jussie Smollett
Like her sister, Jussie also started as a child actor, beginning his career in the late 1980s. In 1992, he gained a notable role in the film “The Mighty Ducks”, which told the story of a hockey team competing in a youth league, and followed that performance with a role in “North” two years later. The film was directed by Rob Reiner, and is based on the Alan Zweibel book “North: The Tale of a 9-Year-Old Boy Who Becomes a Free Agent and Travels the World in Search of the Perfect Parents”.
The film was unsuccessful with a lot of negative reviews, leading it to be considered one of the worst films in history.
He took a long break from acting after that, only taking minor roles to keep connected with the entertainment industry. In 2015, he found his breakthrough as an adult actor in the series “Empire”, in which he played the musician Jamal Lyon. His performance earned critical acclaim, with many praising his depiction of a gay black man on television. His latest projects include “Alien: Covenant” and “Marshall”.
Personal Life and Falsified Assault
Janet married Joel Smollett in 1976, and the two stayed together until his death in 2015 from the effects of cancer.
As the popularity of her children grew, she has also been involved in several controversies. She was once rumoured to be related to US Senator Kamala Harris because of her maiden name, but made a public statement denying that she is connected in any way to the senator. Recently, she’s mostly been focused on her children, checking in on them and making sure that they are doing alright.
In 2019, Jussie was arrested and charged with a felony for filing a false police report. Before the arrest, he was reportedly attacked by two men in ski masks who were supporters of Donald Trump, apparently because of his criticisms of the government – after his hospitalization, doctors found that he hadn’t suffered any serious injuries, and he was later arrested as it was discovered that he paid the two men to stage the entire ordeal. Mysteriously, the charges were dropped a month later, with the court ordering him to do 16 hours of community service; the case file was also sealed. Later in the year, the FBI launched an investigation into why the charges were dropped but no information has surfaced since then. Police want him to pay for the time they wasted on his case.