Skip To Content

    21 Wild Revelations From Will Smith's Interview With Oprah, From The Breakdown Of His First Marriage To Doing Ayahuasca To Help His Relationship With Jada Pinkett Smith

    "I saw Jada as soil, and I saw me as a seed."

    Last night, ahead of the publication of his autobiography and the release of King Richard, Will Smith's interview with Oprah hit Apple TV+ — and boy, was it informative.

    Apple TV+

    So, here are just some of the biggest revelations from Will's talk with Oprah:

    1. First, Will said that he feels like he has failed the women in his life for his "inaction" against his abusive father.

    Will poses on a red carpet with his son Jaden as a toddler and father
    Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

    "I've carried most of my life the sense of failing every woman I interact with," Will explained. "There are two women on earth that I feel like I haven't failed: My grandmother and Willow. [...] I carry a sense of not being good enough, not being able to protect the women I love."

    2. And it was the death of his father in 2016 that allowed him to be more open about his life.

    Will and his father in suits at a red carpet event
    Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    "His death freed me up to be able to be honest with myself about my childhood." 

    3. Will had never spoken to his mother about how he processed his parents' relationship until he read her a chapter of his book, eight weeks before his interview with Oprah.

    Will and his mother on the red carpet
    Johnny Nunez / WireImage / Getty Images

    "I read her the chapter, and she had no idea that I was carrying that around, that I processed it that way," he recalled.

    4. It was acting that allowed Will to process both the "blessing" and the "pain" of his father's character.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    "As an actor, one of the things that is an absolute necessity is never judge a character you want to play."

    5. Comedy allowed Will to traverse the "racial divide" — and he even once saw a man with a swastika tattoo laughing to Men in Black.

    Will and Tommy Lee Jones holding weapons in a scene from Men In Black
    Archive Photos / Getty Images

    "The elixir for me has been comedy. Comedy crosses all divides. If you learn how to make people laugh, it's the sugar for anything else that you want to bring," he said. "The bigger the laugh, the less I was the Black dude. The bigger the laugh, the less I was the soft dude. Laughter trumps everything."

    6. Will once got called the n-word by a police officer.

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images for AFI

    "My encounters with overt racism were never with people who I thought were smart or strong."

    7. After not paying his taxes early in his career and owing about a million dollars, the government seized Will's cars and home, and he hit "rock bottom."

    Chris Walter / WireImage / Getty Images

    Rather than a conscious effort to avoid taxes, Will said, "I wasn't paying attention to that kind of stuff."

    8. Will spent a night in jail, shortly after winning his first Grammy, after his bodyguard punched someone.

    A young will in a Philadelphia Sixers baseball cap
    Al Pereira / Getty Images

    "I am laying on the floor in a jail cell, and I am like, 'You've got to be kidding me. I won a Grammy eight months ago. Like, what is happening?'"

    9. Quincy Jones convinced Will to do an acting audition for the head of NBC at his birthday party — despite Will never having acted before. The end result was The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

    Will as the Fresh Prince
    NBCUniversal via Getty Images

    "He tells me we're going to do an impromptu audition at a party at his house! I'd never acted!"

    10. Michael Bay originally wanted Will to do the running scene in Bad Boys completely shirtless, which Will objected to — and compromised by wearing a shirt completely open. Now Will thinks Michael was right.

    Will running in Bad Boy in jeans and an open shirt

    Will explained, "I never saw myself in that way, as a sex symbol. It was hard for me to embrace the things that Michael Bay wanted me to do."

    11. The only time that Will's manager has hung up on him was when he asked why I Am Legend had earned $77 million dollars over it's opening weekend in the US, and not $80 million — despite that making it the biggest non-Christmas December opening ever.

    Will Smith poses on the red carpet with the dog from I Am Legend
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    "That's the subtle sickness of material success. There is no enough. You just want more, more, more. You get to the point where even winning is miserable."

    12. During his divorce from his first wife, Sheree Zampino, Quincy Jones advised Will to give her half of everything and move on.

    Ron Galella, Ltd. / Getty Images

    "Sheree filed for a divorce, rightfully," he said. "She called herself my placeholder wife. She said that she just had to be there to hold the position of wife in Will Smith's perfect life. She was like, 'Can you see me?' I didn't get that at the time, but it's so obvious and so clear to me [now]."

    13. Will's daughter, Willow, identified a similar problem with his attitude to relationships that had led to the demise of his first marriage.

    Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    When Willow was 10, she told Jada, "Daddy has a picture of a family in his mind, and it's not us." Will continued, "I'll never forget. She was eating Häagen-Dazs dulce de leche; she was pulling my beard. It's a double-edged sword: I had a vision for my family, but at the time I wasn't delicate enough to realize when people's visions for themselves were different."

    14. Will said that his father's alcoholism and abuse shaped how he approached money in his own family.

    Will poses at an event with his three children and wife Jada
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    "I never wanted to be broke. I had seen my father's alcoholism and his violence as a result of living hand to mouth in that way. Whether or not that's true, that's how my mind processed it. I thought that a happy family and love demanded financial stability," Will said. "The problem is that's not really true."

    15. The early days of Will's relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith involved drinking and having sex multiple times a day for "four months straight."

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    "Those early days were spectacular. Me and Jada, to this day, if we start talking, it's four hours. It's the center of why we're still together, not choking the life out of one another." 

    16. Will originally didn’t want to separate from Jada.

    Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

    He explained, "It was a little more contentious from my side. I was like, 'You know what, you go figure it out. You go figure out if you can be happy, and prove to me it's even possible.'"

    17. But he said that he and Jada never "officially" separated.

    The couple posing on a red carpet
    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    "We never actually officially separated. What happened was we realized that it was a fantasy illusion that we could make each other happy. We agreed that she had to make herself happy, and I had to make myself happy. Then we were going to present ourselves back to the relationship already happy — versus demanding that the other person fill our empty cup."

    18. When asked if he and Jada have sex with other partners, Will said that the couple's "love in freedom" approach is difficult to explain to people.

    Axelle / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    "We talk about everything. And I think the difficulty that people have and the difficulty in discussing it is people only think about sex."

    19. And emphasized that he doesn't have a "sexual goal" in his open relationship with Jada.

    Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    "I think that even that idea to me is where people are trying to put something onto it — 'Will and Jada, what they doing with other people?' Will and Jada really aren't doing too much of nothing. Will and Jada are on a spiritual journey to cleanse the poisonous, unloving parts of our hearts. We're doing it together, in this lifetime, no matter what. But the goal is not a sexual goal."

    20. Will didn't find the "entanglement" Red Table Talk episode hard to do.


    When asked, he simply gave an emphatic, "No."

    21. Finally, Will said that doing ayahuasca in Peru was his "most expansive experience" and was crucial in his relationship with Jada.

    David Livingston / Getty Images

    "I was upset, me and Jada: What is marriage? Do I have to be married? One of the nights on [ayahuasca], I saw Jada as soil, and I saw me as a seed. I saw what felt like the hand of God put me as the seed into the soil of Jada and this big, giant tree grew with all of this fruit. [...] I started to think of my relationship with Jada as a fruitful interaction that is meant to feed the people around us."

    You can watch the full episode of The Oprah Conversation with Will Smith on Apple TV+.