The Truth About Brendan Fraser And Afton Smith's Divorce

Brendan Fraser was a universally beloved actor in the 1990s, making memorable appearances in films like "The Mummy," "Now and Then," and "Blast From the Past." Sadly, Fraser's career declined in the early 2000s, and only recently has Fraser opened up about the difficulties he faced after losing his mother, as well as the fact that he was sexually assaulted by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk (via GQ).

After that, Fraser explained that "withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me."

In addition to these traumatic experiences, Fraser also went through a divorce in the mid-aughts, from his wife Afton Smith, who he reportedly met at a barbecue at mutual friend Winona Ryder's house on the 4th of July in 1993 (via AmoMama). Smith was herself once an actress, having appeared in "Less Than Zero," "Reality Bites." "Fried Green Tomatoes" — and even "George of the Jungle," starring Fraser. After leaving acting, Smith went on to become a writer, publishing three books: "Hollywood Picks the Classics: A Guide for the Beginner," "Point to Happy: For Children on the Autism Spectrum," and "The Tiger: Class of January 1922" (via The U.S. Sun).

Together, Fraser and Smith share three children: Griffin Arthur, Holden Fletcher, and Leland Francis, who today are all teenagers.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Their complicated split

Brendan Fraser and Afton Smith first announced their divorce in 2007, following nine years of marriage. "They continue to maintain a close and caring friendship," their publicist shared in a statement at the time (via Fox News).

The divorce was finalized in 2009 and, at the time, Fraser agreed to pay $50,000 a month to Smith in spousal support (via Law Missouri). However, in 2013, Fraser sought to have this amended, saying he wasn't earning enough from acting to justify payments of that size; Smith contested this and accused him of fraud, saying Fraser did in fact have the requisite income (via the New York Post). She claimed that Fraser had $9 million in film contracts that he hid from her at the time of their divorce. Fraser also cited medical issues he was facing as another reason why he had difficulty paying this level of spousal support as he suffered a back injury after attempting to clear a tree that fell on his property during Hurricane Sandy.

Fraser and Smith share custody of their three children, but they live in Greenwich, Connecticut, with Smith, while Fraser today lives in Bedford, New York (via GQ). 

His role in The Whale has generated a lot of buzz

Brendan Fraser suffered a long patch of unfortunate circumstances between his messy divorce, medical issues, losing his mom, and coming to grips with his sexual assault, but it seems like his luck has turned around.

At the Venice International Film Festival, the actor received a six-minute long standing ovation for his role in Darren Aronofsky's film "The Whale" (via YourTango). The ovation from the crowd brought Fraser to tears as he was visibly moved by their adoration (via MovieClips and Mashups).

In the film, Fraser plays a morbidly obese English teacher named Charlie who weighs over 600 pounds. Charlie tries desperately to make amends with his estranged teen daughter, Ellie, played by Sadie Sink from "Stranger Things" (via IMDb). Fraser's performance was clearly well received, although it is not without controversy — critics point out that using CGI and prosthetics to portray the obese character is degrading (via NPR). 

The film is set to be released in the United States in December 2022 and there is talk of an Academy Award nomination for Fraser, per Newsweek. "[Darren Aronofsky] said he wanted an actor to reintroduce," Fraser told Vanity Fair of tackling the role. "And I wanted to be reintroduced."