Will Smith celebrated his 50th birthday by taking a huge leap.
In a video streamed on YouTube, Smith bungee jumped from a helicopter (heli-jump) over the Grand Canyon. It all started with a dare from Yes Theory. “I’ve had a whole lifetime of feeling squashed and squelched and controlled by fear,” the actor said in a voice-over. “There’s nothing worse than walking around scared.”
Smith’s entire family— including wife Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith and son Jaden Smith—all stood by his side as he prepared to take off. A pre-jump interview was given by fellow Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton Banks in the show.
The Men in Black star and his family arrived in a camper van, which contains a certain nostalgic value for actor. Smith explained that he and his family first came to the Grand Canyon in 1976 in the same type of vehicle but his trip there as a kid instilled fear because of the height. Smith said fear was always a dominant emotion when he was a kid.
The 50-year-old has been documenting the days and months leading up to the epic jump. He posted a family photo on Tuesday and wrote, “My Squad holding me down for my big 5-0.”
In another video, Smith called his pal and noted Mission: Impossible stunt helicopter pilot Tom Cruise for some help.
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith Through the Years
According to bungee experts in the video, Smith jumped 550 feet and was held by 200 feet of active cord. Heli-jumping is one of the more dangerous types of bungee jumping because there’s no solid foundation.
Weather in the Grand Canyon plays a major role in the success of the jump. Strong winds (over 45 mph) could prevent the jump from happening. When warned about the potential weather variables, Smith joked he would be super upset if he couldn’t jump.
Throughout the video, Will spoke openly about fear and conquering that feeling. His son Jaden joked that his father’s biggest fear is “having a fear.” The only thing to fear is fear itself?
Willow said she wants her dad to do what makes him happy, but she was nervous beforehand.
Before the giant leap, Navajo Medicine Man Jason Bitsuie blessed Smith and was given protection and guidance by the sun.
Before he jumped, Smith had to receive medical clearance. He took an oxygen level and blood pressure check. “You are on point,” Dr. Ala Stanford told him.
“I’m a little shook,” he said. The doctor, however, told him that it was “completely normal” and it would be worse if he wasn’t nervous.
“You are mentally, physically and spiritually ready for this moment. So just enjoy the moment.”
While he was getting strapped into the proper equipment and before the final check and take-off, nerves were quite evident, but he stayed positive. “NEVER LOOK DOWN!” he yelled while waiting for the green light to jump.
When he finally jumped and flew over the Grand Canyon, he exclaimed, “This is gorgeous! This is gorgeous!”
His family greeted him with hugs and love after he came back to the ground. “Nothing will ever be scarier than that,” he told his family. “It goes from complete absolute terror to the most magnificent bliss you’ve ever felt in your life…The whole Grand Canyon is mine.”
Smith’s ex-wife Sheree Zampino held Jada as he jumped and the two of them said they’ll never have to tell Will anything anymore because he can do it all on his own.
“There’s an idea bubbling in my mind that fear is a cage and it traps you,” he said. “My father passed a little over a year ago, and there’s something about the confrontation with death that makes you live life more freely.”
He summed up his final thoughts. “Life is hard. you might get hurt. Your heart might get broken,” he said. “But you still gotta commit…Don’t hesitate—GO.”
The I, Robot star got some funny birthday wishes from fellow famous faces, including LeBron James, Rev Run, DJ Khaled, Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Strahan and more. His wife Jada celebrated her birthday on Sept. 18, but told Ribeiro “my life is my birthday” because of her loving husband.
Watch the the jump in the YouTube video above.
Happy 50th birthday, Will!
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