Tonight, Hollywood mega-star Will Smith and native Baltimore actress Jada Pinkett will be married in one of the most illustrious weddings ever to happen in Baltimore ... we think.
While New Year's Eve appears certain as the date, other facts of the ceremony -- from precisely where in Baltimore County they'll be married, to, well, virtually everything else -- are harder to find than the literary subtext of "Baywatch."
Family members close to the bride all but refuse to comment, and former friends, teachers and professional contacts either are uninformed or claim to be so.
People magazine doesn't know a thing. "American Journal" is without a clue. Even the tabloid Star Magazine, which offered The Sun money for tips on the wedding, has no idea where to send its paparazzi tonight.
The Baltimore Afro-American thought it had the scoop. It reported on Saturday that the wedding would take place at the Macedonia Baptist Church in West Baltimore. But this is news to the church, says Del Bowen, the church secretary.
"The wedding is not at Macedonia Baptist Church. It's not possible," Bowen said. "If it is, they lied to me."
Meanwhile, over at the Columbia Inn Hotel, where the Smith-Pinkett reception is rumored to be taking place, a receptionist said the hot couple already got married -- last Friday.
Amid all the confusion, a few things are known:
Pinkett applied for the couple's marriage license in Baltimore County on Dec. 18.
She and Smith are famous.
Baltimore-born Pinkett, 26, who made her first big splash in the "Cosby Show" spinoff "A Different World," is currently on the big screen in the super-sequel "Scream 2." Smith, 27, is one of the hottest box-office properties in Hollywood, with last year's "Independence Day" and this year's "Men in Black" under his alien-busting belt. He has been in town since early November filming "Enemy of the State."
The couple met in 1990, when Pinkett tried out for the role of Smith's girlfriend on his hit television show, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air." (Just 5 feet tall, she was denied the part due to her petite stature.) The two have been romantically involved since 1994.
When he met Pinkett, Smith was still married to his first wife Sherri Zampino, whom he separated from in 1995. Zampino and Smith have a 5-year-old son, William C. Smith III, nicknamed Trey.
"It's really rough for him, trying this the second time around. We've talked about all the pain he went through," Pinkett said in a recent interview with the Virginian-Pilot. "I've never had that, but I respect, even more, him taking this chance with me."
Pinkett is now pregnant with their first child, expected to be born this summer.
The actress was born in Baltimore's Forest Park neighborhood. She grew up in Northwest Baltimore and attended high school at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Her first widely recognized role came in 1991, when she was cast in "A Different World" alongside Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy.
Since then, she has appeared in a number of movies, including "The Nutty Professor" with Eddie Murphy, "Set it Off," and now, "Scream 2."
The Philadelphia-born Smith's rise to serious stardom began with his career as a rapper. His rap duo, D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, won the first-ever rap performance Grammy Award for the giddy 1988 single, "Parents Just Don't Understand."
He then went on to star in "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," which ran for six seasons and was praised by many critics as a breakthrough in the prime-time portrayal of African-Americans. Soon after, his movie career began to blossom. He appeared in films such as "Bad Boys" and "Six Degrees of Separation" before becoming a certified major player in "Independence Day" and "Men in Black."
Their stardom notwithstanding, Pinkett and Smith appear to genuinely want a press-free wedding.
"This is their wish, to be extremely private, and we respect their wishes," said Stan Rosenfeld, a representative of Smith's who scolded The Sun for inquiring about the nuptials.
Extremely private may be an understatement. Even people who have been invited to the wedding may not know yet where it will take place.
Reportedly, guests are to be picked up by limousine tonight and taken to the undisclosed location. Limousines for the guests are being provided by several companies in the area, including Carey Limousine, according to Mark Josephs, the company's president.
Among Pinkett's relatives in Baltimore, maternal aunt Karen Evans was the only one willing to comment on any aspect of the wedding or its famed bride and groom.
"They're very much in love, they have fun together," Evans said. "They don't live a Hollywood life. They're family-oriented. They don't party."
About her niece, Evans said, "As long as I can remember, she wanted to be an actress. 'Different World' was the big break, and we were really thrilled. We knew she was talented, but we knew it took more than talent."
Evans added that as a child, Pinkett performed at family gatherings and would organize plays featuring herself and her cousins, which they would perform in the doorway of the house.
Pinkett's stepfather, Paul Jones, would only speak for as long as it took to get his cat to come back inside the house he shares with Pinkett's mother, Adrienne Banfield, in Columbia.
Asked about the wedding, Pinkett's father, Robsol Pinkett Jr., who lives in Baltimore County, declared: "Nobody knows that, only Jada and Will, so I suggest you ask them."
Pinkett's paternal grandmother, Shirley Pinkett, who lives in Baltimore City near Mondawmin Mall, also cautiously avoided comment on tonight's ceremony, but did offer details on another family wedding. One of Pinkett's Baltimore cousins, she said, is tying the knot in mid-January.
She said there wouldn't be any problem writing about that
Pub Date: 12/31/97