‘I just cried so hard’: Will Smith, 51, opens up about becoming a dad for the first time son with son Trey, 27, on Father’s Day edition of Red Table Talk
Will Smith got candid on his early days of parenthood while speaking with wife Jada Pinkett Smith Sunday on her Facebook show Red Table Talk.
The 51-year-old actor is father to three children: Trey, 27, with his ex-wife Sheree Zampino, 52, and Jaden, 21, and Willow, 19, with Jada, 48. She asked him: ‘So Will Smith becomes a father at 24 … what was that like? Trey being your first born, you’re bringing him home from the hospital.’
The Philadelphia-born entertainer said he was very emotional as ‘the real weight of parenting’ sunk in as he laid his eyes on his newborn son.
Emotional: Will Smith got candid on his early days of parenthood while speaking with wife Jada Pinkett Smith Sunday on her Facebook show Red Table Talk
‘I brought him home, and I remember we put him in the bassinet … and it was like stark terror … I’m totally responsible for this life,’ said Smith, who headlined the $419 million hit Bad Boys For Life earlier this year. ‘I couldn’t stop going and checking.’
The actor said that he ‘just cried so hard’ in absorbing the lifelong responsibility, adding he was getting ‘teary right now’ on the stroll down memory lane.
Jada asked him, ‘You cried from what? What was the feeling like?’
He replied, ‘I can’t do it. I’m not the guy. Oh man, I just knew I didn’t know nothing. It’s on me now. It hit me how fragile parenting is. In that moment, I could see all the spectacular lessons my father had instilled in me, and I was like, there’s no way, I’m not that good.’
Heavy: The actor said that he ‘just cried so hard’ in absorbing the lifelong responsibility
Emotional: The A-list couple embraced amid the serious discussion
Queen of talk: Jada delivered another memorable celebrity chat with her husband on the Father’s Day edition of the show
The emotional actor said he needed to ‘get [himself] together,’ needed a tissue and was ‘going to have to walk this one off’ amid the heavy discussion.
He added: ‘See I thought the red couch wouldn’t get me like this: The red table always gets you like this.’
The Hollywood veteran also opened up about the ‘really difficult time’ when he and Zampino parted ways in 1995 when Trey was two-years-old
‘Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life,’ he said. ‘Divorce was the ultimate failure for me. I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my two-year-old son’s mother.
Happy family: Jada, Will, Willow, Jaden and Trey posed in NYC in 2016
‘Sheree and I ran into that – if a man’s not a great husband, then he loses his parental rights. I’m a way better father than I am a husband. In that process, you start fighting for your rights, and the kid is in the middle.’
Smith referenced painful memories from his past referencing his late father Willard Carroll Smith Sr. in explaining why he ‘wanted to create enough distance’ between himself and Zampino so that Trey wouldn’t be exposed to seeing his parents ‘cursing’ and ‘fighting’ each other in the wake of their split.
‘Because of my own experience of seeing Daddy-O punch my mother, I knew my kids would never see me do anything violent toward their mother,’ Smith said. ‘But in the first couple years of Trey’s life, because Sheree and I were divorced, I think my desire to never have my son see me in that way made me more absent as a father. I wanted to create enough distance. We not gonna be cursing, fighting.’
Smith said his father eventually advised him to make things right with Zampino because ‘you’ll never win if you fight a kid’s mother.’
Smith was in the middle of making King Richard – playing Richard Williams, the father of at the Venus and Serena Williams – at the time the COVID-19 pandemic led Hollywood to shut down all productions.