Will Smith may exude positivity and light, but even he has a dark side — and the superstar is opening up about it in his new memoir, Will.
In an excerpt from the tell-all published by People, the Men In Black star opened up about traumatic family secrets, including an incident involving his late father, William Carroll Smith Sr., that almost made the future star commit an unspeakable act in return.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum detailed the complicated relationship he had with Will Sr. early on in the book, explaining that his poppa and his mother Caroline Bright, raised Smith and his three siblings in Philadelphia.
While Will’s dad was present throughout his life, he was anything but pleasant, according to the actor, who wrote:
“My father was violent, but he was also at every game, play, and recital. He was an alcoholic, but he was sober at every premiere of every one of my movies. He listened to every record. He visited every studio. The same intense perfectionism that terrorized his family put food on the table every night of my life.”
Smith went on to recount a traumatizing act of violence he witnessed between his parents, writing:
“When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw her spit blood. That moment in that bedroom, probably more than any other moment in my life, has defined who I am.”
The 53-year-old confessed that the charismatic, confident persona we all know as *movie star Will Smith* is mostly a “carefully crafted and honed character” to hide the young boy who didn’t help his mother. He explained:
“Within everything that I have done since then — the awards and accolades, the spotlights and attention, the characters and the laughs — there has been a subtle string of apologies to my mother for my inaction that day. For failing her in the moment. For failing to stand up to my father. For being a coward… What you have come to understand as ‘Will Smith,’ the alien-annihilating MC, the bigger-than-life movie star, is largely a construction – a carefully crafted and honed character – designed to protect myself. To hide myself from the world. To hide the coward.”
Although Will maintained a close relationship with his father, who separated from his mom when he was a teen before the pair got divorced in 2000, the unresolved anger from that childhood incident bubbled to the surface decades later, while he cared for his father amid Will Sr.’s cancer battle.
“One night, as I delicately wheeled him from his bedroom toward the bathroom, a darkness arose within me. The path between the two rooms goes past the top of the stairs. As a child I’d always told myself that I would one day avenge my mother. That when I was big enough, when I was strong enough, when I was no longer a coward, I would slay him.”
Jada Pinkett Smith’s husband confessed he entertained the thought of killing his dad in that moment, writing:
“I paused at the top of the stairs. I could shove him down, and easily get away with it. As the decades of pain, anger, and resentment coursed then receded, I shook my head and proceeded to wheel Daddio to the bathroom.”
Again, not the kind of confession you’d expect from the Fresh Prince!
The Oscar nominee concluded the passage by reflecting on his relationship with his dad, who died in 2016, and what it made him realize about inner peace. He noted:
“There is nothing that you can receive from the material world that will create inner peace or fulfillment. In the end, it will not matter one single bit how well loved you — you will only gain ‘the Smile’ based on how well you loved them.”
Leave it to Will to find solace in some of the darkest moments of his life!
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