Will Smith reveals he’s a better father than a husband
Actor Will Smith has revealed his experience as a parent in a new Father’s Day episode of Red Table Talk with wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
The 48-year-old actress made the confession during one of the episodes of her Red Table Talk show, as she reflected and discussed how relationships can have new pressure points amidst the current pandemic lockdown.
Smith, 51, sat down to discuss his failures and struggles as a dad, saying he believes “I’m a way better father than I am husband.”
After getting married at age 24 to first wife Sheree Zampino, Smith soon became a father to son Trey, now 27. It was then that he began to comprehend “the real weight of parenting.”
“I brought him home, we put him in the bassinet, it was like stark terror,” said Smith. “I’m totally responsible for this life. I couldn’t stop going and checking. I just cried so hard. I 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.”
When Trey was just 2 years old, Smith and Zampino split up. Though he’s expressed guilt over the divorce, Pinkett Smith, whom he married in 1997, noted, “just because a man might not be the best husband doesn’t mean he’s not a good father.”
“With Sheree and with Trey, that was a really difficult time. Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life. Divorce was the ultimate failure for me,” Smith said. “I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my 2-year-old son’s mother. 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.”
Due to his own troubled relationship with his father, Smith knew he needed to control his own frustrations during the divorce.
“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,” said Smith. “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.”
Despite their early struggles, it was then that Smith turned to his own father for support. Following his dad’s advice that “you’ll never win if you fight a kid’s mother,” Smith chose to surrender. “When he’s 13, he’s going to come look for you,” his father told him. And sure enough, “As soon as Trey was ready, he came looking for his father,” Smith recalled.