On November 9th, actor Will Smith’s memoir will hit the stands. In the memoir simply titled, Will, Smith lets his fans in on what his life was like before becoming one of the most well-known stars in Hollywood.
According to People, who obtained an exclusive look at the new book, Smith went as far as to talk about his tumultuous relationship with his father, Will Sr.
$19.03 at the time of publication
Smith’s father passed away five years ago. And while Will’s relationship with his father was no secret, none of his fans ever knew it was this bad.
Last year, while talking with his wife on her Facebook show, Red Table Talk, Will told Jada that he always wanted to be a father so that he could be a better one than his own father was. “From the time I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a father,” Smith said.
“I loved how my family was, but there were massive critical deficiencies in my father’s parenting that I wanted to correct. By the time I was 10 years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking I could do it better than him.”
Thanks to his own father, Will knew what not to do when he became a father of three himself. And in 2018, two years after his father died of cancer in 2016, Smith told Rap Radar Podcast that, “My father dying sort of released me to be me.”
Now, as People reports, Will has detailed the extensive psychological damage that occurred. “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,” Smith revealed early on in his book.
“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.” And while Will Sr. seemingly always tried to do the right thing for his family, he had his own demons that led him to do things that would scar his son for years to come.
“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.”
As a result of witnessing that moment as a child, Smith admitted that every time he had a chance to, he used his platform to apologize to his mom. “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,” he continued. “For failing to stand up to my father. For being a coward.”
Will Smith went on to admit that the star people have come to know and love is a character in and of itself. Will Smith, the 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.”
Years later, in 2000, Smith’s parents divorced. And although he maintained a relationship with his father following the divorce, it wasn’t until Will Sr. was diagnosed with cancer that those feelings of anger from that gruesome incident he witnessed as a child almost became too much for Smith to handle.
As Will Smith writes in his memoir, while caring for his dying father, he imagined what it would be like to take matters into his own hands.
“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.”
Smith detailed how he contemplated killing his father right then and there.
“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.”
In the end, while Smith at times hated his father, he admitted that it was actually the way he loved his father that helped him find true fulfillment. “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.”
$19.03 at the time of publication
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- 1 Will by Will Smith
- 2 Smith detailed how he contemplated killing his father right then and there.
- 3 Will by Will Smith
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