Will Smith “cried so hard” when his first child was born.
The ‘Bad Boys for Life’ star is father to Trey, 27, Jaden, 21, and Willow, 19, and has said that whilst he wanted to be a dad from the age of six, he found it overwhelming when he brought his first child Trey – whom he has with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino – home from the hospital.
Speaking during a special Father’s Day episode of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch show ‘Red Table Talk’, Will said: “From the time I was six years old, I wanted to be a father. I loved how my family was but there were massive critical deficiencies in my father’s parenting that I wanted to correct. By the time I was ten years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking that I could do it better than him.
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“My father had a little bit of a temper. I was a gentle kid, like, I was not a kid that you had to slap or punch or beat. So growing up in a household where physical aggression was approved of, that really chaffed my hide. That hurt my spirit.”
And when Jada – who is the mother of Jaden and Willow – asked what it was like when Trey was born, an emotional Will added: “I think that was my first moment of the real weight of parenting. I brought him home, and I remember we put him in the bassinet … and it was like stark terror. It was like, ‘I’m totally responsible for this life.’ I just cried so hard. It makes me teary right now.
“I thought like, ‘I can’t do it. I’m not the guy.’ Oh man, I just knew I didn’t know nothing. Oh man, I’m going to need to get myself together. I’m going to have to walk this one off … I need a tissue. See, I thought the red couch wouldn’t get me like this. The red table always get you like this.”
The 51-year-old actor also reflected on how his life changed after welcoming Jaden and Willow, as he admitted having a daughter “introduced [him] to feelings”.
In 2010, Willow released her first single ‘Whip My Hair’ at just 10 years old, and Will now says the event – which led Willow to self-harm after the fame became too much for her – made him re-evaluate his parenting.
He said: “I would say that ‘Whip My Hair’ thing put a pause button on my overt parenting. I stopped, and I just started watching my kids, and with Willow, I started to see that there was a higher value in talking to her about how she feels about the situation versus how to fix the situation, and it became the new thought process for me.”