The untold truth of Kevin Hart

It was a long, hard road for Kevin Hart, but a combination of natural talent and pure determination finally got this Philadelphia native to his dream destination: Hollywood. Hart's stock has risen so much in recent years that he's now able to command as much as $10 million a movie, and looking at his box office returns, it isn't hard to see why. The critics don't always enjoy his brash brand of humor, but paying moviegoers always seem to turn out in large numbers for him.

2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle pulled in almost a billion dollars worldwide, a figure that would have seemed completely alien to Hart when he was growing up. "We come from a f*****-up situation," Kevin's older brother, Robert Hart, told Variety, explaining that he and his famous sibling were brought up in some of "the worst living conditions" you could possibly imagine. 

Kevin also opened up about his difficult childhood in his candid memoir, I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons, which did aim to make the reader laugh, but also had some "serious components" to it. "People get to see the comedic persona, but there's more to me," Kevin said, and he wasn't kidding. From the most shocking reveals in his book to the real story behind his explosive cheating scandal, this is the untold truth of Kevin Hart.

He lost his virginity twice

The comedian and actor gave fans an unrivalled insight into his formative teenage years in his 2017 book I Can't Make This Up, discussing everything from his often difficult relationship with his dad to his first time with a member of the opposite sex. Or, should we say, the first two times. During a chapter entitled Life Lessons from School, Kevin Hart explained how he had to arrange a second meeting with the girl in question after he left their first get-together not really knowing if what they'd done actually counted.

"Her name was Angie," he said (via E! News). "We didn't go to the same school, but she lived in the neighborhood. The first time, I couldn't tell whether we did it or not. This time, I was certain we did it. So I double lost my virginity. I had to lose it twice, just to make sure." 

As the the age-old question of whether or not size matters, Hart is living proof that it doesn't if you can talk the talk. The Hollywood star stands just 5'4” tall (if you work in meters, see this picture of him standing next to Shaquille O'Neal for reference), but he's never had any difficulties with the ladies, even before he was rich and famous. "Even though I wasn't tall or good-looking, women were still attracted to me," he said.

His dad was a drug addict

While Kevin Hart's mother, Nancy, was by all accounts an upstanding member of society (she worked as a computer analyst at the University of Pennsylvania), the same cannot be said of Hart's dad, Henry. The comedian has discussed his father's questionable behavior during his live shows, mining some of his more painful childhood experiences for the purposes of comedy. Apparently, Hart's old man routinely showed up to parent-teacher meetings and school events under the influence of drugs, and he even allegedly stole a dog from the neighbors after he and his brother asked for one.

"He didn't escape any of it — jail, drugs, addictions, ruining your family to a point where my mom didn't want me and my brother to be around him," the Hollywood big-hitter told People. "Seeing the stuff firsthand — seeing the reality behind drugs and addiction, and what it can really do to a person — that's why I don't do drugs. I learned what I shouldn't be doing from what my dad did." 

Hart's brother became a father figure to him, and together, the brothers helped their dad get clean. "As a team we said, look we can get dad straight," Hart told Howard Stern (via People). "He met an amazing woman who turned his life around and helped him stay clean and right now he's all about clean living … My dad's fine now. I never lost touch. That's my dad, I don't give a s**t about his mistakes."

His mother never got to see him perform

How did Kevin Hart and his brother get through childhood with a dad like that completely unscathed? Ask the actor that question, and he'll give all the credit to his mom, Nancy, who found the strength to lead the family when her former partner could not. 

"The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong," Hart told People. "It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman she said, 'Look, regardless of whatever your father's doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you, you're going [to] do what you're supposed to do and you're going to grow up to be two intelligent men.'"

Sadly, Nancy passed away in 2007, without ever seeing her son perform live. That reportedly had more to do with her beliefs rather than a lack of effort on her part. "She was religious," Hart told Variety. "There was going to be drinking and alcohol and smoking stuff. She didn't want to go around that mess. She didn't like to be in environments that were not conducive to her spiritual growth."

After Nancy lost her battle with cancer, Hart went through her things and came across a box filled with newspaper clippings about his work. "Anything I'd ever done, she had it," Hart told People. "She never missed anything."

Lil' Kev the Bastard

His name is well-known across the country and the wider movie-going world, but Kevin Hart didn't even use his surname when he first started doing stand-up shows. Under the stage name Lil' Kev the Bastard, he began working the comedy circuit in his home city of Philadelphia as well as the surrounding areas. He put on shows in New York City and traveled to Los Angeles to try to make a name for himself, but the reaction he got wasn't the one he hoped for. According to The New York Times, Lil' Kev the Bastard "did not warrant much support or enthusiasm" from critics.

"I was trying to be everybody," Hart explained. "I was so confused I didn't know what to do." At the time, Chris Tucker had just become a global star thanks to his memorable performance alongside Jackie Chan in buddy-cop action comedy Rush Hour, and Tucker was reportedly one of a handful of comedians that Hart shamelessly ripped off in those early days. The diminutive funnyman also appreciated the work of future Curb Your Enthusiasm actor J. B. Smoove, though he eventually realized that mashing different styles together just wasn't going to pay off. "It takes a while to tap into that," Hart said. "You don't just wake up and go, 'Oh, I'm going to be good and do this and talk about anything.' I didn't know how to make that funny."

His first show was a disaster

Hart honed his craft at the Laff House, a famous Philly comedy club. There are a few clips floating around from those early days (he looks particularly young in this show from the '90s), but sadly, there appears to be no video evidence of his very first gig. Hart won't mind that, however, because his first stand-up routine at the Laff House was terrible.

"The first show he bombed," said Keith Robinson, a veteran of the stand-up scene who took Hart under his wing and showed him the ropes. "The second show he killed, but he was actually better the first show, because he was being more of himself," Robinson told The New York Times. Robinson knew that imitating the likes of Chris Tucker and J. B. Smoove was only going to get Hart so far, so he convinced his mentee to come up with his own style. "The material that's going to take you farther is the material that's drawn from you, that you're going to struggle with," Robinson said. "But it's better to struggle with your stuff than do the stuff everybody's doing."

Hart definitely has his own style today, but there's still one fellow professional he can't help but fanboy over. "Will Smith is what I refer to as a 'Philly Hero,'" Hart captioned an Instagram video of the two guys together. "I'm honestly following in your footsteps and trying to make my city just as proud of me as they are for you!"

Is he really anti drugs and alcohol?

Kevin Hart claims that seeing his dad suffer stopped him from using drugs and drinking to excess, but he has admitted to doing both on occasion. In his memoir, I Can't Make This Up, the actor said he smoked so much weed with Snoop Dogg and Method Man one time that he couldn't see the rappers through the haze. "All I remember is that Snoop kept smoking and passing me the blunt, smoking and passing, smoking and passing, until I could only see smoke and couldn't see the pass," he said.

This information might have come as a shock to certain sections of his audience, but it was Hart's account of his drinking that really stuck out. In a chapter titled "Alcohol," Hart revealed that he tends to urinate everywhere after he's had too much to drink. "When I'm drunk, I think everything is a toilet," he said (via E! News). "When I'm wasted, anything with a door looks like a bathroom to me. And anything with a lid or an opening looks like a toilet. So I'll p*** wherever I think a bathroom should be." He even admitted to using his wife's purse as a toilet at one point. 

Hart squatting over a designer purse in the dead of night might be a funny visual for one of his movies, but it stops being funny when a person this drunk gets behind the wheel of a vehicle…

He spent time behind bars

At around 4:50 a.m. on April 14, 2013, Kevin Hart's black Mercedes was spotted traveling at speeds of 90 mph on the Ventura Freeway in California. "He allegedly drove drunk and nearly slammed into a tanker truck and then confessed to his wastedness," a TMZ source claimed. The tab reported that Hart "blew almost double the legal limit." California Highway Patrol Officer Ed Jacobs told Hollywood.com that the movie star was "speeding and driving erratically" when officers caught up with him. "[Hart] was transported and placed in jail" for a misdemeanor DUI, Jacobs confirmed.

Hart was released after he sobered up and reportedly fined $5,000. During that short stint behind bars, he supposedly completed an impressive 6,000 push-ups and 13,000 sit-ups. He also managed to strike up a relationship with his "celly," a guy named Mark. "We exchanged war stories," Hart joked on Twitter, though he was quick to make sure people knew just how sorry he was.

"When the cop asked me to take the sobriety test I said, 'WHY WASTE OUR TIME… I'M DRUNK MAN,'" Hart tweeted. "Drinking & driving is not a game or a laughing matter. People have lost lives because of stupid s***. This is a wake-up call for me. I have to be smarter & last night I wasn't. Everything happens for a reason."

He cheated on his pregnant wife

Kevin Hart is no stranger to baby mama drama. In 2017, his ex-wife, Torrei Hart (mother to his first-born son, Hendrix, and his daughter, Heaven), got into a public spat with his current wife, Eniko Parrish (mother to Hart's second son, Kenzo Kash), over the timeline of their relationship. In an Instagram post, Eniko stated that she and Kevin had been together for eight years — the trouble was, the actor had only been divorced from Torrei for six years. Yikes! 

Drama ensued, but in a since-deleted comment, Eniko said Hart's marriage to Torrei was "broken" by the time she arrived on the scene. "They were separated, living in separate homes," the model claimed (via People). "I was never a secret … She wanted to play the victim and not own up to her wrong doing as well." Torrei didn't agree with that version of events. "Eniko, sweetheart, normally I don't feed in to this, but when you addressed me directly, you forced my hand to respond," she said. "You, Kevin, and I know the truth."

A few months later, pregnant Eniko got a taste of her own (alleged) medicine when Kevin admitted that he had cheated on her just a few months before she was due to give birth. "I made a bad error in judgment and I put myself in a bad environment where only bad things can happen, and they did," he said (via Newsweek).

His friend tried to blackmail him

How was Hart's infidelity exposed? His friend and fellow actor J.T. Jackson reportedly took footage of him getting intimate with a woman in a Las Vegas hotel and tried to blackmail him with it, but Hart refused to play ball. Jackson was arrested and charged with attempted extortion. 

"Mind blown," Hart tweeted after the charges were announced (via The Sun). "Hurt… at a lost [sic] for words and simply in complete disbelief at the moment. WOW." Hart refused to pay Jackson, so Jackson reportedly sold the video to TMZ. The tab released some of the footage, which apparently prompted Hart to get ahead of the problem via an interview on The Breakfast Club.

"I'm gonna go home, I'm gonna address it, I'm gonna make my wife fully aware of what's going on in the situation that I have now put us in, and I'm hoping that she has a heart to where she can forgive me and understand that this is not going to be a reoccurring thing and allow me to recover from my f****** massive mistake," he said (via Newsweek). "That's what I'm trying to do not only as a man, but within teaching a lesson to my son."

King of comedy

He might be short in stature, but Kevin Hart casts a big shadow in Hollywood. "I raised my game a couple of notches out of the intimidation factor," his Jumanji co-star Jack Black told Variety. "He's a king of the industry. I've done a lot of movies, but when someone is on fire, at the peak of their powers, you feel like you have to earn your spot." 

But how long can Hart's winning streak actually last? Some argue that he plays the same character in every movie he appears in, though there's no denying it's a funny character. His appeal has been universal, and that's very much by design. For example, Hart reportedly made a point of not discussing Donald Trump in his shows. "Going after people isn't Kevin's style, and he isn't into telling people what they should or shouldn't think about the president," and insider told Fox News. "Kevin would much rather stick to what he already does well, and that's telling jokes that resonate with people on a personal level." 

Hart was criticized by fellow comic Kathy Griffin for not using his platform to push for political change, and it appears the pressure has finally gotten to him. Trump supporters have threatened to boycott Hart after he insulted POTUS at the 2018 VMAs by comparing the notoriously rowdy awards show to "a typical day at the White House." He also told Trump to "suck it."

He almost hosted The Oscars

In December 2018, Kevin Hart announced that he'd host the 2019 Oscars. Almost immediately, some of his old tweets and standup material that included homophobic slurs and themes resurfaced. Instead of apologizing, Hart responded in an Instagram video with a caption that read, in part, "Stop looking for reasons to be negative … If u want to search my history or past and anger yourselves with what u find that is fine with me." A few hours later, he posted another video, claiming that The Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences], which awards the Oscars, told him that he'd have to "apologize for [his] tweets of old or [they] were going to have to move on to find another host."

"I chose to pass," he said. "The reason I passed is because I've addressed this several times. … I've said where the rights and wrongs were. I've said who I am now versus who I was then— I've done it." Hart later backed out of the hosting job entirely, citing his desire to not become "a distraction," and he apologized.

"I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past," he tweeted, adding in a subsequent tweet, "I'm sorry that I hurt people.. I am evolving and want to continue to do so. My goal is to bring people together not tear us apart. Much love & appreciation to the Academy. I hope we can meet again."