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Hart is a man of discipline. If you track his movements on social media — and with 32.7 million Twitter followers and 51.5 million Instagram fans, many do — you know he’s a physical fitness junkie. He rises every morning at 5:30 to hit the gym, and last August he ran 35 miles in a relay that took him from Mount Hood to the Oregon coast. He routinely shares pictures of himself in mid-crunch or hoisting barbells in the air.
“You can’t expect to give 100% if you’re not in a physical place to give 100%,” says Hart, 37.
Photo Credit PAMELA LITTKY FOR VARIETY
Right now, the actor and comedian is arguably the hardest-working person in show business. He’s appeared in nearly a dozen movies since 2013, many of them in leading roles and most of them box office hits. That’s to say nothing of the grueling stand-up tours that put him on the road for weeks at a time. The animated film “Captain Underpants,” featuring Hart’s voice, debuts in theaters June 2, and in December he headlines “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black. He recently wrapped “Untouchable,” a dramatic comedy with Bryan Cranston that will open in 2018. OPRAH: OWN Passes on "Underground"
Working with Hart on the “Jumanji” sequel motivated Black to step up his own acting. “I raised my game a couple of notches out of the intimidation factor,” says Black. “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.” KATHY GRIFFIN TERMINATED!
As if he didn’t have enough going on, Hart is also about to become a published author. “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons,” his first book, hits stores June 6. In his stand-up act, Hart’s comedy draws from personal experiences, delving into the cheating that torpedoed his first marriage or his hardscrabble youth growing up in North Philadelphia. Onstage, stories about his alcoholic and drug-addicted father are played for laughs.
In print, Hart gets real.
“People get to see the comedic persona, but there’s more to me,” Hart says. “This is a story that can be told, and I chose to tell it. It’s funny, but there are serious components to it.”
Kevin Darnell Hart was born on July 6, 1979 to Nancy Hart, a single mother, and brought up in one of the toughest sections of the City of Brotherly Love. His father, Henry Witherspoon, missed much of Hart’s childhood. He was in and out of jail, and an addict. The drugs, and escalating parental screw-ups, such as the time Witherspoon dropped Hart off at the wrong school, caused his mom to limit his visits.
“We come from a f—ed-up situation,” says Robert Hart, Kevin’s older brother. “We come from the worst living conditions.”
When Hart performs stand-up, he treats his father as a jester, arriving coked up to cheer his son at spelling bees or giving his kids another family’s dog when they wanted a puppy. But there was a darker side to Witherspoon. In the book, Hart recounts how his father broke into his mother’s house to steal money. Another time, he robbed Robert Hart’s barbershop and crashed his car.
“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,” Hart says. “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.” SPOTIFY SETTLES
Hart says his father is now sober and the two have reconciled. At some point, Hart decided it was important for his two young children, Heaven and Hendrix, to know their grandfather.
“It takes too much time and energy to keep hate alive,” Hart says. In return, Witherspoon makes an effort with the children.
“He’s as good as he can be,” Hart says. “He’s very much in their lives. He talks to them. He sends them messages. He Facetimes. He’s serious about making his presence felt.” Read More
This story first appeared in the May 30, 2017 issue of Variety.