The Untold Truth Of LaKeith Stanfield

LaKeith Stanfield, who is a prime example of a nearly overnight success story in the entertainment industry, used his unique style to go from indie films to appearing in blockbuster hits. After delivering a memorable performance in the small budget flick "Short Term 12," he showed up in the Oscar Best Picture nominees "Get Out" and "Selma." You may have also spotted Stanfield portraying a young Snoop Dogg in "Straight Outta Compton." In perhaps his most recognizable role, he was the lead actor in the 2018 film "Sorry to Bother You." This started an incredible run of appearances on the big screen in a wide-range of films like "Knives Out," "Uncut Gems," and "The Harder They Fall." Then, for his incredible turn in "Judas and the Black Messiah," Stanfield earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As for TV, Stanfield has been a series regular as Darius on the FX show "Atlanta" since 2016.

It wasn't until sitting next to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at an award show that Stanfield realized he had made it. Instead of just watching other stars on screen, he told Nylon he could "begin to respect real people that you meet, you begin real interactions." But Stanfield's rapid rise to success has unfortunately come with baggage as well. From substance issues to dealing with the spotlight, the actor has struggled on multiple occasions. Thankfully, he has continued to channel his talent as one of the brightest stars in Hollywood.

This is the untold truth of LaKeith Stanfield.

LaKeith Stanfield's 'hard' childhood

LaKeith Stanfield was born in 1991 in San Bernardino, California, per NME. Though he lived close to Los Angeles, foreshadowing his future career, Stanfield's upbringing was far from glamorous. His mom worked at the fast-food chain Del Taco "and fought to keep her family fed," The New York Times reported. Then, at the age of 11, Stanfield and his family relocated north to Victorville "that carried the unfortunate nickname of Victimville." What's more, Stanfield had to contend with a difficult relationship between his mom and stepfather, a fraught dynamic that would cause Stanfield to "scream at him to leave her alone." To take the train to Los Angeles to audition for roles, the young boy would try to find "lawns to mow or cars to wash." When those avenues didn't work out, "he'd panhandle."

"Hard times. That's what I think about immediately," he told NME about his childhood. In fact, his upbringing was so difficult that he said in Esquire, "I don't want to give details." As recalled by the actor, his family often relocated "because I had family all over. I just kinda ran around, like a wolf-child. I didn't have much guidance."

Though his time in the Inland Empire region of California was certainly filled with hardship, the environment crafted Stanfield's unique mindset. "I'm used to just like letting my imagination run because that's really all you can do there is just entertain your imagination," he told NPR.

LaKeith Stanfield's school years

LaKeith Stanfield got bit by the acting bug when he was in a high school production of "Honk! The Musical," per The New York Times. The bug bit even harder when, as he recalled to the outlet, a headshots photographer said, "I think you're going to be good. You have this real disenfranchised look and feel about you." Before he knew it, he was in a short film that would eventually turn into the feature flick "Short Term 12." 

While drama class sparked his interest, Stanfield probably wouldn't say he was the most enthusiastic of students across the board. "I hated school," the actor revealed to the Los Angeles Times. According to Stanfield, he especially hated learning about history "because I always thought they were lying. They were talking about a bunch of white guys in wigs and how they laid the law and the land down and created everything." But looking back, Stanfield said that he "could have paid some more attention in some of my other classes."

This same ability to challenge the status quo also translated outside of school. Stanfield explained to the Los Angeles Times that he grew up in a religious household but questioned the various ceremonies. For example, he recalled opening his eyes while praying and "trying to find my own truth."

LaKeith Stanfield's surprising job

In between filming the short film "Short Term 12" and the full-length version, LaKeith Stanfield had a series of unique careers. Had it not been that each opportunity was cut short, Stanfield may have never become a famous actor. At first, he worked "at a cannabis growhouse for a couple of years, tending the plants," Esquire reported. According to the actor, "That's why I don't smoke anymore, I got my fair share back then!" But the growhouse was forced to close and so, Stanfield relocated to Sacramento to live with a family member. While there, he worked for AT&T as a salesman. "It was basically a form of acting, so I did pretty well at it," Stanfield told Nylon.

Looking back, the actor said he enjoyed his time pitching AT&T to prospective customers. "It's very hard but very fun," he shared in an interview for NPR. Stanfield remembered in the role, "You get to try to convince people that you're not there selling them something that they don't really, necessarily need." It also helped with his persuasion skills and ability to quickly connect with others. For example, he would adjust his selling tactics with older potential clients by himself acting "a little bit older," like a classic door-to-door salesman. Plus, he knew how to throw in a well-timed compliment like, "By the way, the way the sun is hitting you, the wrinkle in the center of your head makes you look 20 years younger."

The big break for LaKeith Stanfield

For his first role on screen, LaKeith Stanfield linked up with director Destin Daniel Cretton for the short film "Short Term 12." The movie won the 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize but it didn't exactly kickstart Stanfield's career, per Esquire. After struggling to find other roles, Stanfield fortunately looked online at the Sacramento film board website to see that Cretton had been sending him messages. "He couldn't find me," Stanfield told Nylon about his former director. "I didn't have a phone, I didn't have an internet presence. I was broke as hell." Fortunately, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. He recalled taking the train from Sacramento and arriving at night on the last day of auditions. "That s***'s crazy. That's God," Stanfield told the Los Angeles Times. Cretton then hired him to shoot the feature length version of the film, which earned Stanfield an Independent Spirit Award nomination for breakout performance and won the 2013 SXSW Grand Jury Award. The movie was also the big breakthrough for his co-star Brie Larson.

After filming the full-length version of "Short Term 12," Stanfield moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time. Not that it was easy at first — he crashed on Cretton's couch a few times, per Esquire. Luckily, Stanfield found his way off the sofa and onto the big-screen with his next big role in "The Purge: Anarchy," which set his movie career in motion.

The Atlanta star can entertain in many ways

Outside of acting, LaKeith Stanfield has long held another passion. As a boy, he "stapled egg crates in a corner to create a mini recording studio, where he'd rap," wrote The New York Times. After becoming an actor, Stanfield continued to use rap as another form of expression. "Music is a good outlet for me, even though I don't release much of it," he told Palm Springs Life. As the outlet noted, he's teamed up with "Moors, a collaboration with beat-master Hrishikesh Hirway; a group called Ratcheft; and another known as Karosive." He said his work in Karosive "eats away at your brain," predicting he "might get in trouble for" the output. In fact, he once got in trouble for his raps when he "freestyled homophobic slurs in a video he posted to Instagram," recounted The New York Times. Stanfield took down the video and later apologized in a since-deleted Instagram post. 

Stanfield then worked on another project under the name of Htiekal — his first name spelled backwards. He released three tracks as of 2021 and worked on a rap album called "Self Control" in his free time. The album was "about struggling and striving and getting through the harder times — and coming out on the other side with some hope," Stanfield told GQ. One of the songs, "Birds," came as a result of Stanfield waking up to "the harmonious sounds of birds outside of his window," per Pitchfork.

LaKeith Stanfield champions therapy

His intense supporting role in "Judas and the Black Messiah" took a real toll on LaKeith Stanfield. "It's no wonder I've been feeling so stressed out and having panic attacks," he told Level. As a result of his experience, "I realized going forward before I step into something like that again, maybe have a therapist." In his other film from 2021, Stanfield also struggled. While making "The Harder They Fall," Stanfield shared that his days working on the Western were often difficult. "The worst part of filming this movie was that i was in a pretty bad space mentally. I couldn't see what life had in store to teach me about myself that i needed to know," he revealed on an Instagram post. "Everyday on set i was experiencing crippling anxiety and suffering silently inside."

These experiences on set were in conjunction with the difficulty he faced during a global pandemic. The actor explained that lockdowns were especially troubling on his well-being. "It's put it to the test, I think we all can agree," Stanfield told The Guardian about lockdowns. Fortunately, Stanfield sought help and turned to therapy twice a week to help him work through any troubles. Plus, he found solace through spending time outdoors. "That's meaningful to me," he said about enjoying time in his pool and garden. "I'm finding that nature is being my friend and helping heal me through this stuff."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

LaKeith Stanfield has opened up about alcohol use

After the tragic death of his childhood friend in 2014, LaKeith Stanfield started using alcohol. "I spiraled out, like, really drinking crazy," he said to Esquire. Drinking then became a common theme for Stanfield. As he told Nylon in 2017, "You learn how to train, you learn how to talk, you learn how to not do interviews drunk, which is the only way I used to do them." In the same interview, he said, "All these parties can be boring, so you have an incentive to get drunk rather quickly, and you have to learn to temper yourself." 

Once, Stanfield posted "videos of himself drinking alcohol out of prescription pill bottles," HotNewHipHip reported. He added in his since-deleted posts, "I like to be by myself because I can hurt myself and no one tells me to stop or fakes like they care." But the actor then assured his fans, "I appreciate everyone checking in on me but I'm good. I'm not harming myself."

As Stanfield continued in entertainment, he sometimes went back to drinking alcohol. While filming "The Harder They Fall," Stanfield revealed in a November 2021 Instagram post, "I would drink every night after work and try to laugh off my pain." Fortunately, Stanfield was able to acknowledge his issue. "Here's to fighting through the trauma to get to myself. Here's to almost 6 months sober," he concluded in the post.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Inside the actor's relationship with Daniel Kaluuya

In a scene-stealing turn, LaKeith Stanfield flips from subdued to screaming "get out" to Daniel Kaluuya's character in the film "Get Out." It was a small role for Stanfield but it started a friendly relationship with his co-star. "I didn't really get to know him or meet him that much on 'Get Out,'" Stanfield told NME about Kaluuya. "We had conversations off-camera, but I wasn't on set for more than like a week." But when the two reunited on set for "Judas and the Black Messiah," Stanfield said they connected on a deep level. "He's just a beautiful guy," he said of Kaluuya. As for their topics of conversation, Stanfield revealed that the two often "discussed our childhood because we kind of grew up similarly" in the fact that both "had to struggle through and get through." He added, "It was nice to bond on that."

Chatting with Level, Stanfield revealed that he actually competed with Kaluuya in the audition process for both their films together. While one might assume this brewed up some sort of negative tension between the two, that couldn't be further from the case. Though Kaluuya nabbed the bigger parts, Stanfield said there were no hard feelings and believed in the casting process. Plus, he hinted that he hoped to work even more with Kaluuya. "We're just getting started in Black storytelling. For real," Stanfield told Entertainment Weekly.

The tragedy surrounding LaKeith Stanfield

LaKeith Stanfield has starred in movies filled with tragedy but he also experienced heartbreak when the cameras were off. While working on the film "Memoria," Stanfield's mom called him to explain that "his best friend from back home had been killed in a drunken fight," Esquire reported. Even more brutal, the death came at the hands of his friend's own brother, according to Level. "It took me a few days to realize it was real," Stanfield recalled to Esquire. Looking back, Stanfield explained, "I try to see his death as a source of energy, whether it be something I can tap into for a scene or as a springboard to really go for it."

The pain stayed with Stanfield when he joined "Judas and the Black Messiah," which is based on real events. "So I was carrying that with me the whole time," he told Level about filming the movie. "One thing that made those moments real for me is that I know what it feels like to lose somebody abruptly, violently." This emotion translated to many of his scenes, especially one that involved his character poisoning Daniel Kaluuya's character. Stanfield recalled becoming emotional on set that day: "There was no distinction between reality and what I was experiencing in the moment. Most of the takes in that scene, I was actually bawling. I had to tone it back." Though tragic, this emotion translated into Stanfield's Oscar-nominated performance.

Details about LaKeith Stanfield's family

As detailed by LaKeith Stanfield, his name follows family tradition. His dad's name is LaGareth, as are his older and younger brothers. "My Dad apparently got his name from his Dad, who was drunk when he had him," Stanfield revealed to NME. The actor was originally supposed to be called just Keith but apparently, his aunt suggested, "You might as well put a La on there as well. Name him LaKeith." This tradition ended with his sisters Claryssa and Kamyra who "didn't get the La for whatever reason." Stanfield is part of a large family and is one of seven children, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Stanfield's aunt was a formative part of his childhood. "One of his first loves was a giant satinleaf tree that grew in his auntie's front yard," wrote The New York Times. More than just spending time with his aunt's tree, Stanfield "used to do these little shows for her," he told NME. "I'd dance around and play different characters. Sometimes I put her wigs or older people's clothes on and played different roles. She'd watch me till she fell asleep."

After becoming a Hollywood star, Stanfield didn't forget those who helped him along the way and vowed to "create something for my family, and then we'll all be successful. And we'll be happy," he told The Guardian.

LaKeith Stanfield's legal troubles

From a young age, LaKeith Stanfield found himself in trouble with the law. For example, he used to "bust open change machines and steal sandwiches from Subway," The New York Times reported. As a result, Stanfield was "thrown onto cars by cops, Tasered and arrested for smoking weed." This seemed to be the worst of Stanfield's troubles and he considered himself fortunate for not becoming part of any gangs. Then, Stanfield seemed to be on a more law-friendly career path when he went around as a door-to-door salesman for AT&T contracts. That is, until the actor was fired from the job due to "outstanding marijuana warrants." Stanfield elaborated on these warrants and revealed that he was in trouble for obstructing justice. "I was outrunning the police, and there was this big chase, and everyone was running," Stanfield told the Los Angeles Times. Just like an action-scene in a movie, "I was trying to zigzag, thinking I could outrun the spotlight from the helicopter. For some reason, I thought I could outrun it, but I found out the radius was a lot larger than it appeared in my imagination."

After becoming a star, the actor tried to make amends for some of his earlier mischiefs. For example, he reportedly paid back the specific Subway shop for the sandwiches he once stole. Plus, "he once spent an afternoon in Vancouver handing out $500 worth of $20 dollar bills to homeless people," wrote The New York Times.

LaKeith Stanfield's fashion evolution

LaKeith Stanfield quickly became known for more than just his acting skills, especially when it comes to walking the red carpet. He's earned praise for his unique red carpet looks and ahas consistently pushed the boundaries for men's fashion in Hollywood. As for his simple fashion ethos, "I do what feels right," he told Vanity Fair. When it was time for his first festival in 2013, Stanfield recalled, "Pretty much all I knew about the business at that point is that there was a thing called the red carpet." But then he went on to have one-of-a-kind looks, like when he shaved half of his head for the "Selma" premiere in 2014. The following year, Stanfield walked the red carpet for the "Dope" premiere wearing a woman's suit. "I told all my stylists at the time that I wanted to wear a woman's suit," the actor revealed. In addition to the bright color, "I just really loved the suit." Stanfield also likes to try out various accessories. "Since I was little, I just used to always play around with wigs and stuff," he shared. In fact, the actor owns a large collection of wigs, he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I have so many different textures and colors and things," he added.

At the 2021 Oscars, Stanfield once again showed off his incredible sense of fashion wearing a women's Saint Laurent jumpsuit, a look that wowed The Cut, WonderlandVogue, and others.

Who is LaKeith Stanfield dating?

As LaKeith Stanfield started to become a household name, the star was romantically linked with actor Xosha Roquemore. She rose to fame playing Tamra Webb on the TV series "The Mindy Project" and starred in movies like "Precious" and the 2021 film "Space Jam: A New Legacy." Stanfield and Roquemore reportedly began dating in 2015, as indicated by the two showing up together at the premiere of his movie "Straight Outta Compton," according to Suggest. The following year, both actors were spotted together at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2017, Roquemore announced that she was pregnant with Stanfield's child in a since-deleted Instagram post (via People). But beyond the announcement, Stanfield and Roquemore have kept their private life away from prying eyes in Hollywood. In fact, Stanfield at first didn't reveal the name or the sex of his child in a 2018 interview for The New York Times. Though the actor later revealed that he had a daughter with Roquemore, Stanfield wouldn't elaborate much more. "I don't really talk about her a lot," told The Hollywood Reporter. As for his home life, the couple apparently lived together in Stanfield's Hollywood Hills house at the time of the interview, November 2020.

Fans were dazzled by Stanfield's fashion-forward look at the 2021 Oscars when he wore a retro-inspired jumpsuit by Saint Laurent. Roquemore especially loved the look and tweeted in response to his photos at the event, "This how I ended up pregnant."

LaKeith Stanfield's feelings about fame

LaKeith Stanfield's ascent to the Hollywood A-list came with some side effects. As the actor said to Nylon, "Fame is a double-edged sword, isn't it?" He added that life as a celebrity "could be really bad for you, or it could be really good for you." One of the trickiest parts for Stanfield to navigate was handling interviews. Though he may disagree, Stanfield found it best to "be strategic and careful in what you say." But he also found rewards in taking chances. "You've just got to shoot your f***ng shot," Stanfield said. In his opinion, acting is "a long shot, it's hard, it's a tough game." Stanfield also recognized that his time as the hot, in-demand actor would never be guaranteed and called fame "fickle."

"I don't even really like to use that word 'success' any more," Stanfield told The Guardian. He said that as a celebrity, "I find myself not always as happy as I'd like to be. A lot of things that come with apparent success do not make you well." He also explained that life in the public eye made it even more difficult to find a path back to well-being. Though fame has not been without complications, the actor noted that at the end of the day, he doesn't entertain just for the recognition. More than accolades and awards, "We do it because we want to tell a good story," he told NME.

How much is LaKeith Stanfield worth?

Starting in 2016 with his role in "Atlanta," LaKeith Stanfield became one of the most in-demand actors in entertainment. With his signature solemn expression, he excelled in dramatic roles in films like "The Girl in the Spider's Web" and "Crown Heights." Showing his range, Stanfield also appeared as the romantic lead alongside Issa Rae in the 2020 film "The Photograph." Plus, the actor used his distinctive voice in animated shows like "BoJack Horseman" and "Yasuke." With all these credits in a short time frame, Stanfield has racked up an impressive amount of bills. According to various unconfirmed reports, Stanfield is worth somewhere between $1 million and $2 million.

With some of his earnings, Stanfield was able to afford an impressive home in California. According to Esquire, Zillow estimated that Stanfield's house in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles cost $1.6 million. "I think the design is Japanese-influenced," he told the magazine. "I love Japanese culture. I got a bunch of Buddhas in my bedroom. And nature, man. It heals all." All of his projects also helped Stanfield drive around in a luxury whip. "I got a Tesla right outside," the actor shared with Esquire. This was far from the time when Stanfield would sleep in his mother's "janky old Chrysler with no door handles" in Los Angeles. Reflecting on where he is now and his rise in Hollywood, he said, "It's so surreal that it actually happened."