Will Smith is one of the world’s all-time great superstars, a man who has been a fan-favorite since the early ’90s. Nominated for multiple awards over the course of his career, including two Academy Award nominations, Smith has appeared in everything from comedies to serious dramas and action epics.
Over the past few years, Smith has opened up to his fans more than ever. In an excerpt from his new memoir, fans are learning about how Smith’s relationship with his abusive father deeply affected his life, even leading the actor to consider killing his father in an especially traumatic moment.
What is Will Smith best known for?
Smith rose to fame in the NBC television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The series ran for six seasons, launching Smith, an aspiring actor and rapper, to insane popularity. After achieving fame in television, Smith transitioned to a high-powered movie career, appearing in big-budget flicks such as Independence Day, Men in Black, and Bad Boys.
Throughout the late ’90s and into the early 2000s, Smith gradually became one of the most bankable stars in the world, as well as one of the most likable. He continued to prove his versatility by acting in romantic comedies like Hitch as well as heartrending dramas such as The Pursuit of Happyness. Through it all, Smith continued to develop his business acumen and even kept working on his music career.
Will Smith opened up about his abusive father
During the early years of his career, Smith rarely opened up about his troubled childhood. However, in a brand-new memoir, Smith is detailing his difficult relationship with his father, and the way that the patriarch abused Smith’s mother.
As reported by People magazine, Smith 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…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.”
Smith detailed how that moment has stuck with them throughout his life, and that he has maintained a “subtle string of apologies” to his mother for “failing” to act that day, for failing to protect her from the abuse that she suffered. Years later, however, when Smith was a huge star, he had an opportunity to avenge his mother. That moment came when he was taking care of his father during his cancer battle.
Will Smith talked about the moment he considered killing his father
“One night, as I delicately wheeled him from his bedroom toward the bathroom, a darkness arose within me … I paused at the top of the stairs. I could shove him down, and easily get away with it,” Smith wrote in his memoir. “As the decades of pain, anger, and resentment coursed then receded, I shook my head and proceeded to wheel Daddio to the bathroom.”
Smith talked about how the moment shaped his future, admitting that he decided to channel the anger that he felt at that moment into “insight.” As he detailed, “In the end, it will not matter one single bit how well [people] loved you — you will only gain ‘the Smile’ based on how well you loved them,” the actor noted.
Smith’s father died in 2016, and these days, Smith is maintaining an open dialogue about mental health with his fans and followers—and about the importance of remaining true to oneself.
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