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John David Washington Used To Tell People His Dad Was In Jail

Source: Allen Berezovsky / Getty

Well, this is an interesting way to get people to take you seriously as an actor.


It’s no secret, being the son of a GOAT in their respected professions is not easy, especially when you are trying to follow in their footsteps, just ask Michael Jordan’s sons. The same can be said about the living legend, Denzel Washington, and his offspring. The legendary actor is one of the few celebrities who has managed to keep his career in Hollywood completely separate from his marriage to his wife of 37 years Pauletta Washington and their four children. While he has managed to provide a normal life for his children, one of them, John David Washington, is revealing being the son of the man who played Malcolm X flawlessly doesn’t have its advantages.

Speaking with Mr. Porter, the 36-year-old rising star spoke on how his famous dad inspired him to get in the acting game before the age of 10, and just like us, he marveled at his dad on the big screen. BUT, it was when he hit his teenage years that he feared being Denzel Washington’s son could mean always being unfairly judged in the industry. To combat that, Washington would lie about his father’s profession even going as far as to say his dad was in jail just so he could be taken seriously as an actor.

“I was related to Denzel Washington. I saw how people changed when they found out who my father was. I used to lie, saying he was a construction worker or in jail, just to have some sense of normalcy. I felt like there was no way people would take me seriously, even if I was good. They would always judge me. So I hid who my father was. I guess I was protecting myself.”

Well, it seems it has all paid off for Washington because he has definitely stepped out of his father’s shadow. Before he became one of Hollywood’s brightest stars thanks to roles in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, HBO’s Ballers, and Christopher Nolan’s COVID-19 delayed film TENET, Washington was pursuing a career in the NFL. He played on the St. Louis Rams before his career was cut short due to injury.

Photo: Allen Berezovsky / Getty