Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brendan Fraser movies were a dime a dozen. He appeared in scores of films, one after another, and was one of Hollywood’s most bankable actors. But what many people don’t know is that The Mummy heartthrob was married during the height of his career. So who was Brendan Fraser’s wife? Here’s the lowdown on his ex, Afton Smith.
Brendan Fraser Was A Huge Movie Star In The 1990s
As far as his acting career goes, the ’90s was Brendan Fraser’s decade. After achieving modest success with early films like Encino Man, School Ties, and Airheads, the Indiana-born actor scored his first big box office hit in 1997 with George of the Jungle. The movie debuted at number two at the box office, right behind the mega-hit Men in Black, and grossed a whopping $174.4 million worldwide.
It was at this point that Fraser expected to jump right into a George of the Jungle sequel, but it didn’t work out that way. “I had just done George of the Jungle and that was a sleeper hit,” he told The Orange Country Register in 2008. “The studio dropped the ball and should have ordered up a sequel right away. So I had plenty of time to do The Mummy, which was irresistible because of the epic scope and exotic locations. I wanted to be a part of that. It was too cool to turn down.”
It’s a good thing he didn’t! The Mummy became an even bigger box office hit than George of the Jungle, grossing more than $416 million worldwide. Now a bonafide Hollywood star, Fraser appeared in a string of successful films over the next few years, including Gods and Monsters, Bedazzled, and The Mummy’s two sequels, The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
But by the mid-2000s, Fraser’s career had cooled down. While he continued to work steadily, his movies were nowhere near as successful as his previous films. The actor was also worn down from the physical demands of filming The Mummy series and says his body needed a break.
“I believe I probably was trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive,” he admitted to GQ in a 2018 interview. “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China, I was put together with tape and ice…I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar [surgery] didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.”
But during most of that time, Fraser had Afton Smith by his side, whom he married in 1998.
Who Is Afton Smith?
Born on December 3, 1967 in Long Island, New York, Afton Smith is an actress best known for roles in Less than Zero, Reality Bites, and Fried Green Tomatoes. She’s also the author of the book Hollywood Picks the Classics: A Guide for the Beginner and the Aficionado, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest movies released between 1930 and 1960.
Smith’s last movie role was back in 2003, an uncredited part in the comedy Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, and she says that she no longer considers herself a working actress.
“I’m done,” she said in a 2004 interview promoting her book. “I think, well, the passion kind of died for me in the acting world. And I thought best leave it to people who are really great at it and do it…I loved it as a kid and as a teenager. I started working professionally probably at about 18 and I really enjoyed it but as I got older, there were just other things that I became more interested in.”
Afton Smith And Brendan Fraser Worked On ‘George Of The Jungle’ Together
Fraser met Smith in 1993, at a barbeque at the home of actress Winona Ryder. The Bedazzled actor said it was love at first sight and that he immediately knew they would be compatible as a couple. “I knew I could combine my personal and professional ambitions and have a friend to be with in her,” he told USA Weekend in 2003. “Five years later [in 1998], she did me the honor of being my wife.”
Thanks to Fraser, Smith scored a cameo role in George of the Jungle a year before the couple wed. The pair went on to have three children together—Griffin Arthur Fraser, born in 2002, Holden Fletcher Fraser, born in 2004, and Leland Francis Fraser, born in 2006.
In 2018, Fraser revealed to GQ that his eldest son was autistic. “Griffin’s rated on the autism spectrum. Um, and so he needs extra love in the world, and he gets it,” the Airheads actor said. “And his brothers, ever since they were small, one was always the spokesperson and the other was the enforcer…[Griffin] is a curative on everyone who meets him, I noticed. People have some rough edges to them. Or he just makes them, I don’t know…put things into sharper relief and maybe find a way to have a little bit more compassion. They don’t put themselves first so much around him.”
Afton Smith And Brendan Fraser Were Married For 10 Years
Smith and Fraser’s marriage lasted for close to a decade, which is a long time as far as Hollywood couples are concerned. But they split in late 2007, and unfortunately, things got ugly a few years later. As part of their 2009 divorce settlement, Fraser was ordered to pay Smith $900,000 a year in alimony and child support payments. However, in 2013, the Gods and Monsters star returned to court to have that number reduced, claiming he no longer made enough money to justify the large sum.
This did not sit well with Smith. In addition to insisting Fraser still made more than enough money to cover the yearly payments, she also accused her ex of fraud, claiming he had hidden $9 million in film contracts when the couple settled their divorce back in 2009.
While the outcome of their dispute is not publicly known, it appears that the couple settled their differences privately. The exes currently share custody of their three children.