Will Smith's life got flipped-turned upside down when the rising rapper shot to stardom in 1990 as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — and just two years later, everything changed once again when he became a dad for the first time.
Smith welcomed his first son, Trey, in 1992 with then-wife Sheree Zampino. While his connection with Trey grew strained after divorcing Zampino in 1995, the father and son have since rebuilt their relationship.
In 1997, the rapper wed actress-singer Jada Pinkett Smith, and the pair welcomed their first child together, son Jaden, the following July. Two years later, they welcomed daughter Willow in October 2000.
Trey Smith Instagram
From rebuilding his relationship with Trey to how Willow changed his parenting style, the Oscar winner hasn't shied away from opening up about "the real weight of parenting" and the ways in which his children have pushed him to be the best version of himself.
In November 2022, all three kids supported Smith at the premiere of his movie Emancipation in Los Angeles. Trey, Jaden, and Willow were dressed to the nines for photos with their dad on the red carpet. The following month, Smith shared on the All The Smoke podcast that he's in his "greatest period of fatherhood."
Smith shot an episode of Red Table Talk with his children in December 2022. Before sitting down at the round table, he decided to film all his kids arriving at the house — a TikTok trend that determines who is always early and who is always late. Willow was labeled "the early bird," as she arrived 30 minutes early. Trey was named the "most dependable son," as he arrived 15 minutes early. And Jaden was named "Mr. Time is a Construct," as he arrived roughly an hour late.
Here's everything to know about Will Smith's three kids.
Trey Smith, 30
Smith's first child, Willard Carroll "Trey" Smith III, was born on Nov. 11, 1992, in L.A. He is the only child of Smith and Zampino; the former pair divorced in 1995 and later developed an amicable co-parenting relationship.
"Divorce was the ultimate failure for me," Smith told Pinkett Smith on her Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk. "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."
After a few years of being "absent," the father and son reconnected, with Smith recalling on Red Table Talk that "as soon as Trey was ready, he came looking for his father."
In a video shared on Instagram in 2018, the Bad Boys actor reflected on the evolution of their relationship, emotionally revealing Trey had just told him that he was his "best friend."
"It has not always been like this between Trey & I. We STRUGGLED FOR YEARS after my Divorce from his Mother. He felt betrayed & abandoned," the actor captioned the clip.
He added, "It is a Wild Blessing to recover & restore a Loving Relationship with My Beautiful Son! @treysmith0011."
Despite their once challenged relationship, Smith says he immediately felt the joy of fatherhood when his son was born. Speaking to Pinkett Smith about Trey's birth, Smith recounted, "I brought him home, we put him in the bassinet, it was like stark terror." He continued, "I'm totally responsible for this life. I couldn't stop going and checking. I just cried so hard. It makes me teary right now."
The rapper dedicated a 1997 rendition of Bill Withers' classic "Just the Two of Us" to Trey, which saw the then-5-year-old make his Hollywood debut alongside his dad in the track's 1998 music video. The proud dad later authored a children's book of the same name, which chronicled their relationship.
Young Trey next joined his dad on All of Us, a 2003 sitcom that also saw cameos from younger brother Jaden.
Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection
These days, Trey is busy working as a DJ and released his first album, Best Wishes, in 2020.
During an episode of Red Table Talk, which aired in Oct. 2022, Zampino revealed that Trey "didn't feel loved" by her as a child.
"One of the things that my son said to me when he started to do the work [on forgiveness], one of the things that came up for him, he felt that he wasn't loved," she said. "I said, 'Oh my God, your father loved you, what are you talking about?' He said, 'I'm not talking about him, I'm talking about you.' "
Zampino explained that Trey felt like she didn't care about his feelings growing up.
"Maybe eight months ago, doing my work, I said to him, 'You're so right. I didn't care about your feelings, because I didn't care about mine,' " she shared.
On November 11, 2022, Smith celebrated his son's 30th birthday by posting a video on Instagram of his eldest through the years. "DAMN?! I officially have a THIRTY (30) YEAR OLD!!" the actor wrote.
Jaden Smith, 24
Rich Fury/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty
Jaden Smith was born in Malibu, California, on July 8, 1998. He got an early start in Hollywood when he joined his dad and big brother on All of Us in the early 2000s. Jaden then made his big screen debut alongside Smith in 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness, which earned him an MTV Movie & TV Award for best breakthrough performance. Among his many other roles, Jaden is perhaps most famous for his turn as The Karate Kid.
One of his less favorable roles came in 2013's After Earth, which bombed at the box office and earned the actor and his dad negative media attention — which Smith has reflected on as one of his biggest regrets as a father.
"After Earth was an abysmal box office and critical failure," the father of three wrote in his 2021 memoir Will. "And what was worse was that Jaden took the hit. Fans and the press were absolutely vicious; they said and printed things about Jaden that I refuse to repeat. Jaden had faithfully done everything that I'd instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he'd ever experienced."
"We never discussed it, but I know he felt betrayed. He felt misled, and he lost his trust in my leadership," Smith continued. "At fifteen years old, when Jaden asked about being an emancipated minor, my heart shattered. He ultimately decided against it, but it sucks to feel like you've hurt your kids."
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty
While Jaden has continued to act — he starred in 2020's Life in a Year alongside Cara Delevingne — he's leaned further into his music career, releasing his debut studio album Syre in 2017 and earning a 2022 Grammy nomination as a featured artist on longtime friend Justin Bieber's album Justice. To celebrate his son's music hitting 100 million streams on Spotify, Smith parodied Jaden's "Icon" music video, hilariously recreating a shot-for-shot version of the clip.
"It is a delicious gift to a parent to admire his children. Keep Doin' You!" Smith captioned the video.
Willow Smith, 22
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Born on October 31, 2000, in L.A., Willow Smith — who goes by the monosyllabic WILLOW musically — has followed in both of her famous parents' footsteps as a singer, songwriter and actress.
After first starring alongside her dad in 2007's I Am Legend, Willow joined mom Pinkett Smith as a voice actor on Madagascar 2 the following year.
At just nine years old, Willow released the viral hit "Whip My Hair" and quickly signed with JAY-Z's label Roc Nation, becoming the youngest artist to do so. By the next year, she was touring internationally with Bieber. Ultimately, though, the sudden fame and the stress that accompanied it was too much for the then-10-year-old, and in 2012, she defiantly shaved her head.
"It was the perfect way to rebel," she later told PEOPLE of the decision. "I was super young, and I had a dream, but all I really wanted to do was sing and I didn't equate that with all the business and the stress that ended up coming with it." She added, "I was just like, 'Whoa, this is not the life that I want.' "
While Smith initially ignored Willow's request to stop touring, he changed his mind, and his entire parenting style, after seeing her shaved head for the first time.
"I'm looking and I'm like, 'Got it. I got it, baby. I'm sorry. I apologize. You can stop,' " Smith recalled, adding, "It was terrifying. I felt like I had been texting looking at my phone and stepped out into the street in front of a bus and Willow snatched me back. As strange as it sounds, in that moment I discovered feelings. Because of my childhood, because of the way I was raised ... I didn't care about how I felt so I damn sure didn't care about how somebody else felt."
He continued, "My parenting style changed in that moment ... That was a major transition for me in my life. I feel like Willow saved me from what could have been tragic in my life."
Since then, Willow has continued to work in the music industry, releasing five albums — including 2021's pop-punk Lately I Feel Everything. She is currently on tour with Machine Gun Kelly, with whom she released the single "Emo Girl" in early 2022.
In October 2022, Willow released her latest album COPINGMECHANISM. She announced the release on Instagram, posting a clip of the music video for "ur a stranger," which features Paris Jackson. The following day, she posted about her upcoming engagement to perform as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
The two-time Emmy nominee also co-hosts Red Table Talk with her mom and grandmother, Adrienne Banfield-Noris. On several episodes of the candid talk show, Willow has opened up about her love and sex life, revealing herself to be polyamorous.
"I would definitely want one man and one woman," Willow said. "I feel like I could be polyfidelitous with those two people."