Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith have reflected on the lessons they have learned as parents – with Will admitting he was terrified when he first became a father at 24.
Speaking on a special Father's Day edition of Jada's hit show Red Table Talk, Smith was candid about rebuilding a relationship with his first son Trey, now 27, because he split from Trey's mother, his first wife Sheree Zampino, when Trey was two.
Smith said he felt 'stark terror' when he first became a dad as 'the real weight of parenting' became clear.
'I brought him home, we put him in the bassinet, it was like stark terror,' he said. 'I’m totally responsible for this life. I couldn’t stop going and checking. I just cried so hard. I knew I didn’t know nothing. It’s on me now. It hit me how fragile parenting is. In that moment, I could see all the spectacular lessons my father had instilled in me, and I was like, there’s no way. I’m not that good.'
He added: 'With Sheree and with Trey, that was a really difficult time. Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life. Divorce was the ultimate failure for me. I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my 2-year-old son’s mother. Sheree and I ran into that — if a man’s not a great husband, then he loses his parental rights. I’m a way better father than I am a husband. In that process, you start fighting for your rights, and the kid is in the middle.'
The I Am Legend star said he stepped back due to his own experiences: 'Because of my own experience of seeing Daddy-O punch my mother, I knew my kids would never see me do anything violent toward their mother. But in the first couple years of Trey’s life, because Sheree and I were divorced, I think my desire to never have my son see me in that way made me more absent as a father. I wanted to create enough distance. We not gonna be cursing, fighting.'
Smith married Pinkett-Smith in 1997 and they have two children, Jaden and Willow. He now has a strong relationship with Trey, something they have both worked at since his eldest son got back in touch when he was 13.
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