According to an excerpt published in People from his upcoming memoir Me, Will Smith contemplated the idea of “avenging” his mother via killing his father. I suppose that’s the fascinating thought process that would lead to the memorable crying scene in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Smith reveals that his early life in Philadelphia was plagued with chaos from his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., who took out a lot of his aggression on his wife, Will’s mother, Caroline Bright. It affected his later life with his father, whom he eventually forgave and cared for while he battled cancer in his last stages of life.
“My father was violent, but he was also at every game, play, and recital. 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… When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of the head so hard that she collapsed. I saw her spit blood.”
The two divorced in 2000 when Smith was 32.
The low point of their father-son relationship was when Smith was caring for his father near the end of his battle with cancer. “One night, as I delicately wheeled him from his bedroom toward the bathroom, a darkness arose within me. 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. I paused at the top of the stairs, I could shove him down, and easily get away with it. As the decades of pain, anger, and resentment coursed then receded, I shook my head and proceeded to wheel Daddio to the bathroom.”
The elder Smith passed in 2016. Noting the evolution of their relationship and the success of his career, Will writes, “There is nothing that you can receive from the material world that will create inner peace or fulfillment. 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.”
The memoir releases on November 9th, at which time you can read more about his trials and tribulations, perhaps the deviancy of his wife, Jada.