Will Smith has revealed the dark part of his upbringing and complicated relationship with his late father in his new memoir.
In his memoir, which is scheduled for release on November 9, Smith described his dad as a man with dualities.
In an excerpt highlighted by People’s magazine, the actor revealed the fraught setting of his early life in Philadelphia with his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., and mother, Caroline Bright, and how it affected his later life with his father, whom he cared for while he was battling cancer. He said:
“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.”
Illustrating the terror, Smith tells a story about an occurrence when he was 9 years old. He had watched his father punch his mum in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. He writes:
“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’s parents eventually split when he was a teen and got divorced in 2000. His father died in 2016, 16 years after Smith’s parents divorced.
Despite caring for his father when he was ill, the 53-year-old admits that the incident haunted him even then. He revealed that he once thought about killing his father to “avenge” his mother for the abuse she suffered.
Recounting how he contemplated ending his father’s life, the dad-of-three wrote;
“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. 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.”
Reflecting on his decades of success as an entertainer and his relationship with his father, the actor wrote;
“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 [people] loved you — you will only gain ‘the Smile’ based on how well you loved them.”