Will Smith and his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., had a very complicated relationship.
In the comedian’s new memoir, Will, he recalled what it was like to grow up with his dad and his mother, Caroline Bright.
"My father was violent, but he was also at every game, play, and recital,” Smith wrote. “He was an alcoholic, but he was sober at every premiere of every one of my movies.”
“He listened to every record. He visited every studio. The same intense perfectionism that terrorized his family put food on the table every night of my life,” Smith continued.
The King Richard star said he recalled a time when his dad was very violent toward his mom. The incident was so bad that Smith never forgot it.
"When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed,” he wrote. “I saw her spit blood.”
“That moment in that bedroom, probably more than any other moment in my life, has defined who I am,” he continued.
"Within everything that I have done since then — the awards and accolades, the spotlights and attention, the characters and the laughs — there has been a subtle string of apologies to my mother for my inaction that day.”
“For failing her in the moment,” Smith said. “For failing to stand up to my father. For being a coward."
Smith was so disappointed in himself that he thought about killing his father years later when Will Sr. was diagnosed with cancer.
"One night, as I delicately wheeled him from his bedroom toward the bathroom, a darkness arose within me,” Smith wrote. “The path between the two rooms goes past the top of the stairs.”
“As a child I'd always told myself that I would one day avenge my mother. That when I was big enough, when I was strong enough, when I was no longer a coward, I would slay him."
"I paused at the top of the stairs. I could shove him down, and easily get away with it," he continued. "As the decades of pain, anger, and resentment coursed then receded, I shook my head and proceeded to wheel Daddio to the bathroom."
Smith’s parents separated when he was a teenager, and they later got divorced in 2000. In 2016, Will Sr. died, and that’s when Smith thought deeply about his relationship with his father.
"There is nothing that you can receive from the material world that will create inner peace or fulfillment," he wrote. "In the end, it will not matter one single bit how well [people] loved you — you will only gain 'the Smile' based on how well you loved them."
Smith’s new memoir, Will, will hit shelves on Nov. 9.