Just like every other actor in the entertainment industry, actor cum musician Will Smith, too, has had his fair share of regrets in life. Yet, his share seems to be a bit tougher than everyone else’s because the thing he regrets includes something that went wrong with his parenting.
Getting candid in his memoir Will, the I Am Legend star explained how much he regretted betraying his son, Jaden Smith’s trust in him as their film together earned the then-young actor some really intense criticism, after which, the younger Smith asked to be emancipated from the Oscar winner.
Will Smith Feels He Betrayed Jaden Smith’s Trust After After Earth Critical Failure
While many of Will Smith’s big-screen projects have been some of the most remarkable masterpieces of all time, the actor has also had quite some box-office failures, one of which includes After Earth – the critical failure that was also his and his son Jaden Smith’s second film together.
Talking about how hard that moment was for him and his son along with the terrible impact the criticism had on both of them, the I, Robot actor recalled in his 2021 memoir Will (via People):
“After Earth was an abysmal box office and critical failure,” Smith wrote. “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.”
Will Smith’s Other Hard Parenting Lesson Was Taught To Him By His Daughter
This goes back to when Will Smith‘s daughter, Willow Smith made her debut as a singer-songwriter with the release of her 2010 superhit song, Whip My Hair. Because of the immense acclamation the song received, the young star even secured a month-long tour opening for singer Justin Beiber.
However, it didn’t take long for her to have second thoughts and claim she wanted to stop. When her father tried to explain to her why she couldn’t stop, the young pop star decided to take drastic measures. As per Will:
“Willow came skipping into the kitchen for breakfast. ‘Good morning, Daddy,’ Willow said joyfully, as she bounced to the refrigerator,” Smith wrote. “My jaw nearly dislocated, dislodged, and shattered on the kitchen floor: My world-dominating, hair-whipping, future global superstar was totally bald. During the night, Willow had shaved her entire head.”
While this incident freaked him out to the core, the Aladdin actor also came to realize that what actually went wrong wasn’t with his daughter Willow Smith, but rather with his parenting skills.
“My mind raced and scrambled — how was she going to whip her hair if she didn’t have any? Who the hell wants to pay to watch some kid whip their head back and forth?” he continued. “But before I could respond, I felt something slowly turning, shifting, until it clicked into place: In a moment of divine connection and revelation, she had reached me. I leaned down, peered deeply into her eyes, and said, ‘I got it. I am so sorry. I see you.’”