Will Smith’s harsh past: a violent childhood and the precise moment in which he thought of murdering his father

Will Smith (RINGO CHIU/)

Histrionic and funny at first. Even naive, with a certain clumsiness. Character actor some time later, having gone through the comedy and the action genre, capable of putting almost an entire film on his shoulder alone, as in I’m legend. Today, Will Smith He is considered one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. However, there is behind his public career a private life in which those smiles, the ones he showed in his beginnings in acting, were absent. We are talking about a past that could be part of a dramatic script, suitable for transferring those turbulent experiences to the big screen: Will went through a fierce childhood, with violence and heartbreak.

Smith was born in Philadelphia, United States, on September 25, 1968. His beginnings were not as an actor but in music: as a teenager he was part of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Princea high-profile hip-hop group that made waves in the mid-’80s.

In 1988 they won a Grammy and the critics began to encourage the band, and especially Will’s voice. But nothing went as he hoped, and two years later, finding himself broke, he jumped into acting. During those years, and even though he had earned a lot of money, a debt of 2.8 million dollars. He was repossessed, and had to start from scratch. On one occasion he commented that he asked a drug trafficker for money to pay what he owed. Of course, that led him to have another, much more complex: not paying could cost him his life.

It was then that he signed a contract with the NBC to star The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a series that was on the air for six years and catapulted him to world fame. With the popularity, with the public’s attention focused on his figure, details of his childhood became known. Will himself agreed to speak in various interviews and documentaries, perhaps to heal old wounds.

Will Smith - The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Trailer
Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, his first acting job

It is here where many say that such a characteristic smile is a mask to hide a deep pain, the one that marked him forever, and that bears a first and last name: William Carol Smith, his father. According to the actor’s testimony, it was a man worried that his children would not lack anything. But he was violent. And alcohol made it all worse: every time he came home after spending several hours in bars, those qualities were scattered on the floor. Hell took over the home.

William died in 1996 from cancer. Only then would the actor be encouraged to talk about his dark years. “My father was violent, but he also attended every game, every performance or recital. He was an alcoholic, but he was sober at all my movie premieres. He listened to all my records. He visited all the film sets. The same perfectionism that terrified his family put food on the table every night of my life…” reads an excerpt from Willthe book of his memories.

Will Smith with his dad William Carroll Smith
Will Smith and Willard Smith, his father (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage) (Steve Granitz/)

“When I was nine years old,” he continued, “I saw my father punch my mother in the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw how she spit her blood out of it. That moment in my room, probably more than any other moment in my life, she defined who I am.” Her mother would end up leaving the house, without money, without any kind of income, leaving her children in the hands of the man who had ruined her life. “When that happened, that was the only time I ever considered suicide,” Will would say, years later.

That child forged a shield. Even, as he himself maintains, Will Smith is nothing more than a character carefully created to live another reality and get away from the one he was in his childhood and adolescence. He confessed that for not defending his mother-Caroline Bright– of the gender violence exercised by his father, he thought he was a coward. And he felt the need to get out of there.

The worst stage was between the ages of 14 and 17, when he was already beginning to understand what was happening at home in a different way. “One night, as I was gently wheeling him from her room to the bathroom, a darkness came over me. The path between the two rooms goes through some stairs. As a child I always told myself that one day he would avenge my mother. That when he was old enough, when he was strong enough, when he wasn’t a coward, I would kill him.”

“I stood at the top of the stairs. I could have pushed him and gotten out unscathed pretty easy. Decades of hurt and anger and resentment kicked in and then receded, I shook my head and took Dad to the bathroom,” she said of the moment when taking justice into her own hands crossed her mind.

Will Smith with his mom Caroline Bright
Will Smith with his mom Caroline Bright (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage) (Johnny Nunez/)

A confidential Will Smith also narrated that in 2011, when he separated from Jada Pinkettwith whom he married in 2017 and had two children Jaden Christopher Syre and Willow Reignfell into an existential void. And he decided to settle in Peru. There, he met a shaman who offered him the path of Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drug that he consumed for two years. During that period, he also had a serious problem with alcohol, from which he was also able to escape, according to what he told in his biography.

After that they returned, but they changed the way they linked. Before they had an open relationship, but that generated short circuits that led to their separation, when several infidelities on the part of the two came to light. They understood that this was not good for them. “Our marriage was not working. We were both miserable and clearly something had to change.”

Today everything changed in his life. Will Smith tries to prevent his children from facing what he himself suffered, maintains that hallucinogens are no longer part of his everyday world, and seeks to focus on his work and on his loved ones. Mentalized, he maintains that he is mentally very strong so as not to relapse again. Little by little, he regained his smile.

Will Smith (Photo: REUTERS)
Will Smith (Photo: REUTERS) (HANNAH MCKAY/)


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