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Will Smith Opens Up About Fatherhood and His Dad: '[Abuse] Hurt My Spirit'

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 07: Will Smith attends the Berlin premiere of "Bad Boys For Life" at Zoo Palast on January 07, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Joshua Sammer/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

Will Smith got candid about his relationship with his father and the intimidation of parenting he had to overcome in a new interview. 👀

Watching Smith's heartbreaking monologue about his fictional father's lack of presence and love in season 4 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, viewers gain an enhanced appreciation for the realness of his emotions.

But that frustration came from somewhere all too real, and Smith recalled the way he viewed his pops on the Father's Day episode of his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith's Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch.

One of the most revealing confessions was that when he was only ten years old, Smith recognized that he could be a "better" father than his dad, Willard Carroll Smith Sr.

"By the time I was ten years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking that I could do it better than him," he said. "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."

Jada And Will: Their First One-On-One Conversation

On this special Father's Day episode, Jada sits down with Will for one of the most intimate and vulnerable conversations the couple has ever shared. Will and Jada reflect on their 23 years of parenting, including the lessons they've learned, the failures they've overcome and how Will's divorce from his first wife shaped his approach as a father and husband. Plus, never-before-seen Smith family home videos and Father's Day surprises from Trey, Jaden & Willow.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Adding context to this thought, Smith explained that his dad would abuse his mom, creating "the biggest emotional scar" in his life. Yet he was able to learn "the things I would absolutely, positively never do to my children" through this experience.

"Well there’s such beautiful qualities that he instilled that are a big part of what made me 'me,' and as the yin to every yang, I watched [my father] beat up my mother," he went on to say. "So the biggest emotional scar that I have in this lifetime, he delivered that also.

"He showed me a lot of things that I wanted to do, but he also showed me the things I would absolutely, positively never do to my children."

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Building on this point, he talked about the passion his dad had for teaching.

"Every single moment was a teaching moment," Smith said. "He believed that school wasn't the only place you could get an education."

Smith also claimed that his ambition to be a father started when he was six years old, and he teared up while discussing "the real weight of parenting" and "stark terror" that he felt upon the birth of his first son, Trey, at 24 years old.

"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. I’m totally responsible for this life… I just cried so hard. It makes me teary right now," he said.