Father’s Day (June 21) was emotional for actor Will Smith, who joined his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith for a special Father’s Day edition of her Facebook series Red Table Talk, where they had a deep conversation about parenting.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith share two children, 21-year-old Jaden and 19-year-old Willow Smith. Will also had 27-year-old Trey Smith with his first wife Sheree Zampino. In their intimate conversation, Will and Jada reflected on their years of parenting, their successes and failures as parents, and how Will’s divorce with his first wife shaped his fatherly approach.
Will Smith said that his fatherly instincts first kicked in when he was 6-years-old, recalling: “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 10 years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking I could do it better than him.”
When Will Smith finally achieved his wish of being a father (at 24) with his eldest son Trey Smith, he admitted to being nervous. “I think that was my first moment of the real weight of parenting,” Will said. “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.”
Will Smith also spoke about how his daughter Willow Smith changed his whole perspective on parenting and that she “introduced me to feelings.” Will raised Willow with a “military mindset” until he realized that his “desire for her was overriding her desire for her, and I had a real epiphany on that and how bad a person will hate you if you keep forcing your wishes onto their life.”
On her Instagram, Jada posted a trailer of their conversation and in the caption, she wrote about how proud she was to call Will the father of her children. “Dear Will,” wrote Jada. “There are so many things that I haven’t and don’t get right but there is one thing I got really right and that’s choosing you as the Father of my children. I didn’t know much about Fathering when we had children but our parenting journey together has taught me so much about the need and the importance of having a present, courageous and loving Father available.
You taught me that a Father’s place is intricate and extremely specific and looks very different from Mothering and that’s the part I had to learn to respect,” continued Jada. “Thank you for respecting and ALWAYS supporting my Mothering which I have found to be one of your greatest super powers. I’m deeply grateful to you Will. I love you and Happy Father’s Day!”