Will Smith is a regular visitor to the UAE and an avid promoter of the emirate’s many attractions. From enjoying a round of golf with his wife to skydiving to mark his 50th birthday, and diving in the world's deepest pool, here are some of the actor’s best moments in the UAE.
Post-pandemic workouts at Nad Al Sheba
Will Smith spoke for many of us when he posted a picture of his paunch on Instagram earlier this year, with the caption: “I’m gonna be real wit y'all – I’m in the worst shape of my life.”
Proving that even Hollywood’s biggest stars haven’t been immune to putting on a few pandemic pounds, Smith said: “This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic and countless days grazing thru the pantry. I love this body, but I wanna feel better. No more midnight muffins.”
He then vowed to get into the best shape of his life, which has included the odd workout at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex during trips to Dubai. The venue is also the go-to training destination for football players visiting the UAE, with stars from clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea sharing clips from the complex in the past.
“Trying to remember how to use a gym after quarantine,” was the title of one of Smith’s self-deprecating videos, which showed him dashing into the gym and then proceeding to use different machines incorrectly.
Taking a deep dive
Smith was one of the first people to try out the UAE’s latest underwater attraction, Deep Dive Dubai, in July. The new sporting venue features the deepest pool in the world, with a depth of 60.02 metres, as well as a sunken city, where divers can explore an underwater world complete with an abandoned streetscape, apartment, garage, arcade and other interesting features. The 1,500-square-metre facility, which has been designed to look like a giant oyster, is also home to a dive shop, gift shop, as well as a variety of meeting, event and conference spaces, and large viewing areas.
Smith, who has a habit of letting his adventurous side run wild in the UAE, posted a video of himself sitting on the edge of the pool, seemingly about to take a dip. “Deep Dive Dubai, I’m about to go down. Deepest pool on Earth … it's madness,” he said.
Smith has developed close friendships with members of Dubai’s royal family during his frequent trips to the emirate over the years.
In May, Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai, posted pictures of gifts that the Hollywood actor had sent to celebrate the arrival of the royal's newborn twins, Rashid and Sheikha. The picture showed Smith posing with the sizeable gifts, although it was not revealed what was inside the pink and blue balloon-topped packages.
Golfing at the Montgomerie
Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith are avid golf players and have been spotted playing a round or two at the Colin Montgomerie-designed 18-hole championship golf course at Dubai’s Address Montgomerie. "I play golf every day. It's the first time in my life I make time to do something fun every day. Golf is not only fun but there are so many spiritual practices for me on the course," Pinkett Smith said of the sport on her Instagram page. "Will and I love playing golf together. It's fun bonding time."
The big birthday skydive
Smith famously forced Pinkett-Smith to join him on a skydive in Dubai to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2018. The adventure was chronicled in Smith’s six-episode Facebook Watch show, Will Smith's Bucket List, which saw the actor embark on thrilling adventures around the world to mark his milestone birthday.
Talking about Dubai on the show, Smith said: "They don’t just put up anything. When they do it, it has to be spectacular, it has to inspire wonder and awe. It’s the only place on Earth I would bring my wife to skydive for the first time."
Pinkett-Smith revealed her fear of heights ahead of the jump, telling the camera: "This wasreally a test of the years of spiritual work I’ve been doing, and how much faith I have in that source higher than me... I’m afraid of heights, I don’t like flying, and I never ever would think of jumping off a plane as being fun, but because he asked me to, I couldn’t tell him no."