Afton Smith is an American film and television actress. She is the former wife of actor Brendan Fraser. A native of New York, Smith grew up with aspirations to become an actress. She made her screen debut in the 1987 film ‘Less Than Zero’, portraying a character named Kim. That year, she also appeared in the television film ‘Once Again’. Despite initially working in a few moderately successful projects, Smith’s career never really took off. She met Fraser sometime in 1993 and worked with him in the 1997 hit film ‘George of the Jungle’. They subsequently married in September 1998 and had three sons together. The marriage, however, began to deteriorate in the mid-2000s, ending in a bitter divorce in April 2008. She was awarded $900,000 a year in alimony and child support payments, which Fraser contested in a petition to the courts in early 2013, citing financial inability. In turn, Smith claimed that Fraser was hiding financial assets.
Early Life & Career
Smith was born on December 3, 1967 in Northport in the town of Huntington on Long Island, New York. She is exactly a year older than Fraser, who was born on December 3, 1968. Little is known about her family and childhood.
Smith began her screen career with the 1987 crime drama ‘Less Than Zero’. Also starring James Spader, Jami Gertz, and Robert Downey Jr., the film was loosely based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel of the same name. In her next project, the 1987 television film ‘Once Again’, she portrayed a character credited simply as the “Girl in Disco”.
After four years of struggling and not getting any work, she was cast in the romantic-comedy ‘Pyrates’, which narrated the story of a couple (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick) who experience pyrokinesis after they have sex. Smith’s next film was ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’, also released in 1991. The comedy-drama was based on Fannie Flagg’s novel ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’ and Smith played Leona Threadgoode, a member of the Threadgoode family, around whom the film revolves.
Her first hit film was ‘Reality Bites’, a romantic-comedy released in 1994. She portrayed Janine, a girl who Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke) dates. Although she appeared on the screen for a very short period, her character has a significant contribution to the progression of the plot.
In 1995, she guest-starred in an uncredited role in the season one episode ‘Party!!!’ of UPN’s sitcom ‘Pig Sty’. That was her first and only television appearance. In the independent comedy-drama ‘A Reason to Believe’, she played a minor character named Becky.
She worked with her then-boyfriend Fraser in ‘George of the Jungle’, the 1997 live-action film adaptation of the Jay Ward cartoon of the same name, portraying one of Ursula Stanhope’s (Leslie Mann) friends. She worked on one more project, the critically panned slapstick comedy ‘Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star’ (2003). Her career was not going anywhere and after marrying Fraser, she stopped working. Following the birth of their first child in 2002, she decided to quit acting for good and focus on raising the children.
Besides acting, Smith has written a well-received book titled ‘Hollywood Picks the Classics: A Guide for the Beginner and the Aficionado’. Credited as Afton Fraser, she published the book on November 3, 2004, through Bulfinch Press.
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Relationship with Brendan Fraser
Smith and Fraser met at a barbecue at Winona Ryder's house on July 4, 1993. Ryder, who was then filming ‘Reality Bites’ which also starred Smith, introduced her to Fraser. They dated for four years and got engaged in October 1997.
On September 27, 1998, Smith and Fraser married in the garden at the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. Their first son, Griffin Arthur Fraser, was born on September 17, 2002. She gave birth to their second son, Holden Fletcher Fraser, on August 16, 2004, and third son, Leland Francis Fraser, on May 2, 2006.
Smith and Fraser were having problems for quite a while. In December 2007, Fraser’s publicist announced that the couple had decided to separate. The divorce proceedings began sometime in April 2008. The court, seeing that Fraser was one of the top stars of Hollywood, while Smith, for all intent and purpose, was a homemaker, ordered Fraser to pay her $50,000 monthly in alimony. Furthermore, he was told to pay her an additional $300,000 a year in child support.
In early 2013, Fraser asked the court to reduce the alimony and child support, stating he was not professionally as active as he used to be. Smith, in reply, insisted that he was still earning at least $3 million a year and hence, he should continue to pay the amount that was originally agreed upon. The case has since been settled.