In the 1990s and early 2000s, actor-comedian Chris Tucker skyrocketed to fame, first as Smokey in Friday, then with starring roles opposite Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour films. He made time to pop up in some unexpected places, like music videos for Michael Jackson's "You Rock My World" and Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off," but then it felt like he disappeared - what happened to Chris Tucker?
Chris Tucker today is back to touring and performing stand-up, but he hasn't quite hit the level of fame he once had. He slipped off the A-list radar to take a step back from comedy and focus on his spirituality, and when he does take on big roles, he selects them very carefully. Additional stories about Chris Tucker involve some highs, like his outstanding performances in dramas like Silver Linings Playbook, and some lows, like his tax evasion. Here's everything you didn't know about Chris Tucker.
He Almost Died While Filming Tupac's "California Love" Video
Tucker famously made a cameo in Tupac Shakur's music video for "California Love," but little do audiences know he almost died during the shoot. Tucker was filming in a Jeep when the driver took them over a sand dune. Tucker almost fell out and got crushed beneath the wheels, but actor Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) saved him.
Oddly enough, Duncan once worked as a bodyguard for Tupac's archrival, the Notorious B.I.G.
He Was BFFs With Michael Jackson
Tucker was really good friends with the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He testified as the final witness for the defense in Jackson's child-molestation trial, alleging that one of Jackson's accusers' mothers had mental health issues.
Tucker also famously performed Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" in Rush Hour 2. One of Tucker's best Jackson-adjacent roles, however, came as Jackson's sidekick in the music video for "You Rock My World."
He Owed The Government $14 Million In Back Taxes
Despite his big salaries for the Rush Hour movies, there was a time when Tucker owed the IRS a lot of money. The bill was for $14 million in unpaid taxes, to be exact: $12 million, then an additional tax lien for $2.5 million. Fortunately, Tucker settled with the IRS back in 2014. But during the entire tax issue, Tucker was still able to joke about it with typical comedic flare, quipping, "That's the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes."
He Became A Born-Again Christian And Gave Up Roles In Some Major Sequels
Tucker rediscovered his faith after starring in lots of films in the late '90s, becoming a born-again Christian. As a result, he allegedly turned down roles in a lot of blockbusters. He turned down starring roles in Lethal Weapon 4, the Friday sequels, and The Pink Panther. Tucker also said he was looking for deeper, more well-rounded acting jobs that weren't offered to him.