The actor opens up about the time he “realized that my family wasn’t happy with the direction that I was taking them.”
Will Smith is opening up about a time in his life where he lost control over his family — and why that was a good thing.
On the Smith family’s "Red Table Talk" series, Willow Smith has been very candid about her struggles with her father, explaining how he was particularly "harsh" toward her with his leadership amid the success of "Whip My Hair." Speaking to Haute Living, her father now gave his side of the story.
After being asked about why he’s been so open on social media in the past year, giving fans more insight into his personal life than ever before, Smith explained it all stems from 2012 and his family rebelling against his role as family leader.
"One of the major things that happened is that I hit that midlife-crisis point, where I’ve built all of the things I’ve ever dreamed of," he said. "And in my family — 2012 I secretly call the year of the mutiny. And 2012 was really the year that my family rejected the direction of my leadership."
"I was used to the whole family working the family business and being run like a military unit. You follow orders, you have goals, you achieve things and there’s punishment from the higher ranks if you don’t do what you are told to do," he said.
"Willow was really the first person during ‘Whip My Hair’ that decided she didn’t want to do what I said. Because she was the baby girl, she really had the most power over me," he continued. "As a man — if your daughter says no, there’s really nothing you can do. She really tested me. She was like, no she didn’t want to. She was done with ‘Whip My Hair.’ She was done with performing, and as a protest she shaved her head bald."
Smith said that brought him to the realization that, while he was proud with the family’s accomplishments, they weren’t happy. "I felt we were doing well, and my family wasn’t happy," he said. "So, I took two years off."
In those two years he did a lot of reading and traveling, making zero movies at the time. That led to him opening up his social pages, as an "outlet" where he could "deliver the lessons that I had learned to the world in this new media."
His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, has also really let fans into her innermost thoughts thanks to her Facebook Watch talk show, something Will also said he was incredibly proud to see.
"She has finally found a lane for her voice. Acting didn’t really do it for her; music didn’t really do it for her; parenting didn’t really give her the full expression that she wanted," he told the publication. "Starting a family was beautiful for her, but it wasn’t the full expression of herself that she had been seeking. And Red Table Talk was the first thing I’ve ever seen where she gets to be her fully unapologetic and doesn’t have to feel unwelcomed or judged."
He added that he loves seeing his daughter alongside her mother and grandmother on the show, calling it a "spectacular education" for the 18-year-old teen.
New episode of "Red Table Talk" drop Monday on Facebook Watch.
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