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We all know Cesar Milan, the world-renowned dog-trainer from Sinaloa, Mexico. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time before Cesar Milan was famous. But in a recent personal essay, Milan wrote about what his life was like before his fame and fortune. He also wrote about how a very generous celebrity helped him get where he is today.

In an essay he wrote for Newsweek, Cesar Milan revealed that Jada Pinkett Smith paid for an English tutor for him before he was famous.

Cesar Milan Jada Pinkett Smith
Screenshot via Red Table Talk

According to Cesar Milan, he and Jada Pinkett-Smith met in the ’90s. Pinkett Smith attended a Rottweiler training demonstration that Milan was hosting. Pinkett-Smith later adopted a Rottweiler and asked Milan to help her train her new dog.

“Our friendship developed to a point where I felt free to tell her, in my broken English, that I would love to have a TV or radio show so I could teach people what I knew about training dogs,” he wrote in his Newsweek essay. “She felt my sincerity and my passion and explained that I would need to speak English to do that. Then, she got me an English tutor. I learned English for a year, and Jada and I have now been friends for decades.”

Cesar Milan Jada Pinkett Smith
Screenshot via Red Table Talk

In the “Red Table Talk” episode, Jada Pinkett Smith called Milan her “OG homie” and one of her “oldest closest friends.” Pinkett Smith revealed that she met Cesar Milan when she was 19 or 20 years old. She also said that the two of them “came up in the ranks together.” “Because of Jada, I speak English,” Milan told Jada’s mother.

Jada Pinkett Smith had a different version of how she and Cesar met. She told her mother that Cesar Milan was training the dog of a guy she was dating at the time. Jada revealed that she had four (four!) Rottweilers and Milan “taught [her] how to manage those dogs.”

“At that particular point in time and where I was in my life, I wanted those dogs for protection,” she said. “I was a young woman by herself a lot and I wanted that. That made me feel safe.”

Throughout the episode, Jada Pinkett Smith calls Cesar Milan “the epitome of the American dream,” a topic Milan touches on in his essay as well.

In his Newsweek essay, Milan explains his pride in being a once-undocumented immigrant who found success through hard work. “I moved to the U.S. in 1990 and I love that because it’s a layer of me,” he said. “I am an immigrant, I am Mexican, I am a proud pet parent for my pack and father to my children. I have a lot of layers and those layers are what create wisdom.”

“I love the J.F. Kennedy quote: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.’ As an immigrant, I had this knowledge from my upbringing about dogs that I could share.”