From a Sad Childhood to Hollywood A-Lister: Jamie Foxx

By Yuri S.

With over 30 years of experience in Hollywood, Jamie Foxx has an impressive resume. The actor has won several awards, acted alongside A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio, and fought Spiderman on the big screen. Foxx is a force to be reckoned with, but he hasn’t always had a glamorous life.

As a child, Foxx had fractured relationships with his parents. It shaped him into the man and father he is today, but those vulnerable moments were hard to talk about for many years. Now Foxx is opening up about his past and how he became the actor and triple threat he is today.

What Is Jamie Foxx’s Real Name?

Eric Marlon Bishop, aka Jamie Foxx, was born in December 1967 in Terrell, Texas. As the son of Darrell Bishop and Louise Talley, Foxx’s parents decided to give him up for adoption shortly after his birth. They weren’t ready to be parents, so his grandparents adopted and raised him.

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His grandmother, Estelle Marie, was a domestic worker and nursery operator, while his grandfather, Mark Talley, was a yard worker. They raised Foxx was as if he were their own child because Foxx’s parents didn’t want to be involved in his life. He had a unique childhood in the small Texas town.

He Was a Good Child

From the time he was five, Foxx started playing the piano and later became a part-time pianist and choir leader in his church. He had many natural talents, including telling jokes. When he was in third grade, his teacher would use him as a reward. If the class behaved, Foxx could tell jokes.

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His grandparents were proud of Foxx because he received top grades in high school, played on the basketball and football teams, and had ambitions of going pro. Foxx wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys, and people thought he could go all the way because he broke records on the field.

He Was Always Hopeful

Although his parents weren’t around, Foxx was still hopeful that his mom would show up for a holiday or be proud of his accomplishments. He said, “I’m not on drugs. I’m a good guy. I’m the quarterback of the high school team in Texas; I mean, come on!”

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He thought there should have been some sort of relationship with his parents, but it never happened, and it affected him later. However, he always tried to be the best he could by working hard and earning a scholarship to the United States International University to study music and performing arts.

He Changed His Name

When Foxx was 22, he did a stand-up performance at a comedy club because his girlfriend dared him. He realized women were usually called first to perform, so he changed his name to Jamie Foxx because it could have been a woman’s name. He chose Foxx because of the comedian Red Foxx.

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At open-mic nights, Foxx delighted audiences with his impressions of Mike Tyson and other famous figures. He later won the Bay Area Black Comedy Competition, leading to an audition for the series In Living Color. Foxx quickly became a fan favorite with his characters Wanda and Carl “The Tooth” Williams.

Working His Way Up

While working on In Living Color, Foxx also had a recurring role in the comedy-drama series Roc. His success on television led to new opportunities in film, music, and television. In 1994, Foxx produced and composed his debut album Peep This. He worked hard to make a name for himself.

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Larry Wilmore, who worked with Foxx on In Living Color, helped Foxx produce his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show. From 1996 to 2001, Foxx portrayed the character Jamie King who moves from Texas to Hollywood to become an actor.

Making It on the Big Screen

Foxx made his film debut in 1992’s Toys, followed by his first feature role in the sex comedy Booty Call. However, Foxx’s breakthrough role didn’t come until 1999. The dramatic role in Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday helped him reconnect with his football background.

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Starring alongside big names like LL Cool J, Foxx portrayed a hard-partying quarterback who was outwardly arrogant but terrified of failure. Although the movie helped boost his career to a new level, it didn’t come without some drama on the set.

Feuding With LL Cool J

Foxx and Cool J were coming up in the entertainment industry at the same time, and they both wanted to appear in Any Given Sunday. They both landed a role in the dramatic film, hoping to boost their acting credibility. But the drama extended past the screen.

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The actors got into a fight while shooting. They played teammates on the football team, and while there was a scripted argument, things got heated when Foxx punched Cool J in the face. The fight escalated, and the police were called to break things up.

More Than a Comedian

In 2001, Foxx starred as cornerman Drew “Bundini” Brown in the biopic Ali. His roles in Ali and Any Given Sunday proved that Foxx could do more than tell jokes and simple comedic impersonations. Three years later, he acted alongside Tom Cruise in Collateral.

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Foxx’s portrayal of taxi driver Max Durocher received outstanding reviews and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He showed that he could master many different genres and cemented himself as a dramatic actor, all while raising a young child.

A Secret Relationship

During the early ‘90s, Foxx secretly started dating Connie Kline. They kept their relationship out of the public eye as he started to become a well-known name in Hollywood. Kline was not a celebrity, so it was easier for her and Foxx to keep their relationship on the down low.

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Foxx and Kline had a daughter, Corinne Foxx, in 1994 before parting ways. Most people didn’t even know that Kline was Corinne’s mother. The couple didn’t date for very long, but they have remained friends over the years.

Working on His Music Career

Although his 1994 album was a flop, in 2003, Foxx collaborated on music with Twista and Kanye West. He was featured on the song “Slow Jamz,” which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. His second collaboration with Kanye was on the song “Gold Digger.”

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Foxx sang the Ray Charles-influenced “I Got a Woman” hook. The song went straight to number one on the charts and remained there for ten weeks. Kanye wanted Foxx to add his flair to the song after seeing his portrayal of Charles in the 2004 biopic Ray.

Impressing the Legend

When Foxx auditioned for the role of Charles, he had to impress the man himself. He was waiting at the audition when Charles walked in and said, “You know what, man, if you can play the blues, baby, you can do anything. Don’t worry about playing me.”

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He and Charles each sat down at a piano and started playing the blues back and forth. It was not a normal audition because Foxx had to put on a show for the man he would be playing on the big screen. Charles tested him, but he landed the role.

Going to Great Lengths

Once he had Charles’ approval, Foxx went to great lengths to get into character on set. Because the famous singer spent most of his life blind, Foxx wanted to step into Charles’ shoes and glued his eyes shut whenever he was filming.

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Foxx told the New York Times, “Imagine having your eyes glued shut for 14 hours a day. That’s your jail sentence.” He reportedly experienced terrors while his eyes were glued. Additionally, he had to lose 30 pounds to match the singer’s physique.

It Paid Off

Gluing his eyes shut and losing weight was tough, but it paid off. Foxx’s performance was unbelievable, and he took home the Academy Award for Best Actor. Unfortunately, Charles passed away before the film’s release. However, he would have been proud of the outcome.

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Ray grossed $124 million, and Foxx also won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He became the third male in history, behind Barry Fitzgerald and Al Pacino, to receive two acting Oscar nominations in the same year for two different movies (Collateral and Ray).

Remembering Two Important People

A few months before he won the Oscar for Ray, Foxx’s grandmother passed away. The pistol-carrying, unapologetic woman was highly influential in Foxx’s life. He credited her for his success and thanked her in his victory speech. He knew his grandmother would have been proud of him.

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Foxx also honored Charles at the 2005 Grammys by performing “Georgia on My Mind” with Alicia Keys. Foxx captured Charles’ physical mannerisms, warmth, determination, and recklessness. It earned him an invitation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Making History

In December 2005, Foxx released his second studio album, Unpredictable. It debuted at number two in its first week before rising to number one. It eventually sold over 1.98 million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the RIAA.

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Foxx made history because he became the fourth artist, behind Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Barbara Streisand, to win an Academy Award and have a number one album. The album allowed him to reunite with Twista and Kanye for the songs “DJ Play a Love Song” and “Extravaganza.”

Going Back to His Comedic Roots

Following the success of Ray, Foxx starred in the Persian Gulf War film Jarhead and the musical Dreamgirls with Eddie Murphy and Beyoncé. He also had lead roles in The Soloist, as a homeless man who was once a musical prodigy, and Law Abiding Citizen.

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While he has a streak of more serious roles, Foxx returned to his comedic roots with supporting roles in Valentine’s Day, Due Date, and Horrible Bosses. It brought people back to where Foxx got started. Foxx then lent his voice to the animated films Rio and Rio 2.

How Many Kids Does Jamie Foxx Have?

Foxx has two daughters, the second being born in 2008. Anelise is Foxx’s youngest daughter, whom he shares with his ex-girlfriend, Kristin Grannis. The notoriously private actor kept his on and off relationship with Grannis a secret until she was identified in 2017.

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Although he didn’t stay with Corinne or Anelise’s mothers, Foxx’s daughters lived with him because he didn’t want them living away from his “circumstances.” He said, “I want them to see and share the things that I go through.” He has a lot of love for his children.

He Almost Didn’t Get the Role

Besides Ray, one of Foxx’s most memorable roles was in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. He starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Tarantino said Foxx had the cowboy quality he was looking for and could relate to the character.

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While Tarantino was impressed, Will Smith almost got the role over Foxx. Smith was Tarantino’s first choice, but the actor turned down the role because he didn’t think Django was the lead character, and he was upset that he didn’t get to kill the bad guys.

Not an Easy Film

Working on Django Unchained was difficult for many reasons due to the history of the location and the film’s content. However, Foxx said it was interesting to work with Tarantino. The director likes the dialogue to be performed exactly as it is in the script, without improvisation.

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On the first day of rehearsal, Foxx started reading his lines, and Tarantino yelled, “Cut!” He asked to speak to Foxx in his office, and as soon as the door closed, Tarantino started yelling. He screamed, “What the f**k is that?!” He didn’t like that Foxx was trying to make Django “cool.”

Giddy Up, Jamie

In Django Unchained, Foxx is seen riding a horse and looks fairly comfortable. It might be because the horse he was riding belonged to him. He got the horse as a birthday present in 2009 and learned how to ride.

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Knowing how to ride a horse and the willingness to use his own horse made him more appealing in the lead role. He had also previously worked with Kerry Washington in Ray, so they were prepared to play husband and wife again. He was the perfect choice to play Django.

Who Is Jamie Foxx Dating?

Although Foxx has never spoken publicly about his relationships, Foxx reportedly dated Katie Holmes between 2013 and 2019. They were spotted holding hands in public and taking vacations together, and they even attended several red carpets as a couple. Still, they never confirmed the relationship.

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However, after six years together, they called it quits. Like his other relationships, the media didn’t find out about their split until months later. Foxx reportedly moved on with singer Sela Vava, but he shut down the rumors. As of now, Foxx is not publicly dating anyone.

No Wedding Bells Here

Besides keeping his relationships a secret, Foxx said he would never get married. He revealed that he doesn’t want a “cookie-cutter” lifestyle. He feels that a lot of marriages end as children get older, and he never wants that for his family.

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Although he is not married and doesn’t plan to be, Foxx says his relationship with his children is better because of it. He also shared, “The pressure of being married, I don’t think we can have a conversation about it. I just keep moving.”

A Much-Needed Intervention

Leading up to the 2005 Oscars, Foxx said he spent a lot of time partying. He didn’t take the nomination for Ray seriously, and his wild lifestyle spilled over into the spotlight. When he attended the Golden Globes, he drunkenly yelled how many awards he was nominated for.

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It caused his publicist to intervene with Oprah and Sidney Poitier. Foxx said the sit-down helped him clean up his act. Poitier said, “I’m going to give you responsibility,” and Foxx took his career more seriously. He hasn’t gotten out of control since then.

Adding a Grammy to His Home

When Foxx released his third studio album, Intuition, in 2008, he collaborated with award-winning artist T-Pain. Their single “Blame It” helped Foxx add a Grammy to his award shelf. It was his first win, but not his first nomination. He was previously nominated in 2004 and 2006.

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Foxx continued to work on music after his big win. His later albums included Best Night of My Life (2010) and Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses (2015). In addition to his own music, Foxx’s voice was featured in the chorus of Ariana Grande’s “Focus.”

A Prominent Moment in His Career

In 2020, Foxx lent his voice to play Joe Gardner in Disney and Pixar’s Soul. It was a special role for the actor because the character was the first African-American lead in a Pixar animated film. Foxx was proud to have this historical role.

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Foxx called it a prominent moment in his career because he could connect to the character’s feeling of loss. His character loses his father, and Foxx was also grieving the loss of someone close to him while making the film. The movie helped him get through the painful time.

Losing His Sister

Foxx was very close with his sister DeOndra Dixon, and she passed away in 2020 at the age of 36. Foxx said, “Anyone who knew my sister knew she was a bright light. I can’t tell you how many times we have had parties at the house where she has stolen the show.”

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DeOndra was born with Down Syndrome and became the ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in 2011. Foxx was always proud of his sister for being a leader and role model. He supported her dreams and keeps her memory alive.

Harsh Allegations

Foxx has remained private about his personal life for most of his career, but some things haven’t remained in the dark. In 2018, a woman alleged that Foxx sexually assaulted her in Las Vegas in 2002. She went to the police 16 years after the supposed incident.

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Foxx denied the woman’s claims and filed a complaint against her for filing a false police report against him. The statute of limitations for assault in Nevada is two years, so even if it were true, Foxx couldn’t be charged for the incident.

Not His First Legal Issue

The allegations against Foxx weren’t the first time he dealt with the law. In 2002, Foxx was involved in an incident with two police officers in New Orleans. He was trying to escort his sister out of Harrah’s Casino when employees claimed they didn’t show identification upon entry.

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He was charged with trespassing, disturbing the peace, battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest. Foxx pled no contest to disturbing the peace charges in exchange for the other charges being dropped. He received a six-month suspended jail sentence, two years’ probation, and a $1,500 fine.

He’s a Hero

Foxx has done many things during his life, but in January 2016, he became a hero. The actor helped rescue a man from a burning truck that crashed and caught fire in front of his home. The man was driving at a high speed when he veered off the road and rolled into a drainage ditch.

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Foxx and an off-duty EMT helped cut the man’s seatbelt and dragged him out of his truck. Foxx didn’t feel it was heroic because he looked at it as “you just had to do something.” The man suffered injuries and burns but survived. He was later arrested for drunk driving.

Learning From His Daughters

Foxx has had an incredible career, so there are many things he could write a book about. But he chose to share his story of being a dad. In 2021, he released Act Like You Got Some Sense: And Other Things My Daughters Taught Me.

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His book takes readers on a journey through the ups and downs of parenting his daughters. Foxx shared how he discovered Anelise’s talent for writing dark poems and the paranoia he felt when Corinne brought her high school boyfriend home. He also wrote about his tough childhood.

Helping Others

When discussing his book, Foxx said he hoped readers would understand that even if they didn’t have good parents, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t become good parents themselves. When he became a father, he wanted to be different than his biological parents.

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His mother and father weren’t in his life, and he wanted to break that pattern. Foxx said, “You can do two things. You can let it cave you in when things didn’t go right as a kid. Or you can say, ‘Oh, when I get my shot, I’m gonna make sure I do this right.’”

Fighting Super-Man… Twice

In 2014, Foxx appeared as the villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. His character was a recluse-turned-power-conductor. He was such a good villain in the original film that the people at Marvel asked him to revive the role of Electro in 2021.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home producer Amy Pascal brought up the idea to Foxx, and he was excited about the opportunity. Foxx liked that his character would be brought into the new universe, and his character got an upgraded look. He got to battle two different Spider-Mans.

He’s a Rich Man ($170 Million)

As of 2022, Foxx is reportedly worth about $170 million. As an actor, producer, singer, and comedian, he has racked up a lot of money and is one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. His movies like Django Unchained and Dreamgirls made hundreds of millions.

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While he has millions now, Foxx didn’t come from a wealthy family. He had to work hard to make his money. He went to college on a scholarship and started his career barely making money from the comedy shows. Foxx fought for everything he has.

It Runs in the Family

Foxx must have transferred his talents to his daughter Corinne because she has also made a name for herself in Hollywood. Corinne is a model, actress, and producer best known for her role in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. One of her first roles was on The Jamie Foxx Show.

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After graduating from USC, Corinne studied acting and followed in her father’s footsteps. Foxx must be proud because Corinne has also modeled for companies like Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Kenneth Cole, and Yeezy. Like her father, she changed her last name from Bishop to Foxx.

Going Off-Script (the Show)

Foxx previously had a web series called Off-Script, where he interviewed actors such as Denzel Washington and Melissa McCarthy. He said it was the natural evolution of having get-togethers at his house, where he would try to get Hollywood’s biggest names to open up to him.

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One of the most memorable moments was when Foxx interviewed Denzel Washington, and he learned that the actor worked as a garbage man before becoming an actor. Foxx said, “I love doing these interviews because it’s interesting to hear how people got their start.”

Beating Jordan… Michael B. Jordan

When Michael B. Jordan first moved to LA, Foxx took him under his wing and acted like a big brother. Jordan was still in his teens, and he and Foxx bonded over basketball. Foxx supported Jordan’s 2018 “Pop a Shot” fundraiser by facing off against his “little bro.”

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Although he shares a name with the basketball legend, Jordan lost to Foxx. Jordan sunk 43 shots while Foxx made 59. However, in the last round, Jordan scored 61 points. He and Foxx were competitive, but it was all in good fun for charity.

Not a Fan of LA

After living in Texas for most of his life, Foxx was a bit shocked when he moved to LA to start his career. He felt like everyone was fake and superficial. To find genuine friends in the industry, Foxx threw parties to bring together people like P. Diddy and Jay-Z.

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Foxx thought it was cool because Jay-Z was still an unknown artist, and he got to watch the growth of his career. The parties allowed Foxx to meet many important people, making LA feel more like home.

A One-Season Wonder (Stop Embarrassing Me Dad)

In 2021, Foxx co-created, produced, and starred in the Netflix sitcom Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! He played a single father of two teenage girls, and it was his first time on a sitcom since The Jamie Foxx Show. He starred alongside David Alan Grier.

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Although most of Foxx’s projects were successful, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me was canceled after one season. The series received bad reviews, saying Foxx was funny, but the show wasn’t. It was an unfortunate flop, but Foxx moved on to other projects.

Bringing Back Spawn

Foxx has many new projects in the works, including a reboot of Spawn. In 2018, he confirmed that he would star in the remake directed by Todd McFarlane. He had many ideas to improve the film from its original version. Foxx was ready to take on the role when reboot rumors started circulating.

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McFarlane created the comic book that was adapted into the 1997 animated film. In the reboot, Foxx is set to play Al Simmons, a member of a CIA black ops team who is betrayed twice. The film is set to be released in 2023.

Taking on Mike Tyson

While Foxx did not get in the ring with Mike Tyson, he decided to take on the role of the boxer in Finding Mike. Foxx had previously impersonated the famed boxer and was announced as the star of the biographical film in 2020.

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The following year, it was announced that the biopic would be a limited series instead of a film. Foxx has been attached to the project since 2015 and started working on his physique upon announcing the project. It is still in development as of 2022.

A Possible Cover Up

Back in 2007, Foxx debuted a tattoo on the back of his head. He said it was a birthday present to himself, which featured tribal symbols running across the back of his head. It was an interesting decision because it would be hard to cover for different roles.

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Aside from Foxx’s answer, people speculated that he got the tattoo to cover up an incision for a hair transplant. He never commented on the speculations, but Foxx usually has the tattoo hidden in movies and other acting roles.