Will Smith says ‘darkness arose within’ him while recalling childhood memory of mother’s attack

‘As a child I’d always told myself that I would one day avenge my mother’

Maanya Sachdeva
Thursday 04 November 2021 09:07
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<p>Will Smith </p>

Will Smith

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Will Smith has revealed that a “darkness arose within” him while recalling a childhood memory of his father attacking his mother.

In an excerpt from his forthcoming memoir Will, published exclusively by People on Wednesday (3 November), the actor detailed his complicated relationship with father Willard Carroll Smith Sr, who passed away from cancer in 2016.

The Men in Black actor, who was raised by Will Sr and his mother Caroline Bright, recounted a terrible act of violence by his father against Bright.

Smith wrote: “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 53-year-old actor said that everything he has done since then — “the awards and accolades, the spotlights and attention, the characters and the laughs” — there have been “a subtle string of apologies” to his mother.

“For failing her in the moment. For failing to stand up to my father. For being a coward.”

Smith’s parents divorced in 2000, and the actor maintained a close relationship with his father.

However, he recalled, “a darkness arose within me” when the same childhood memory resurfaced one night while caring for the senior Smith, who had been diagnosed with cancer.

The actor admitted: “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. That when I was big enough, when I was strong enough, when I was no longer a coward, I would slay him.”

While contemplating pushing his wheelchair-bound father down the stairs, Smith said he felt “decades of pain, anger and resentment” course through him and then recede.

“I shook my head and proceeded to wheel Daddio to the bathroom,” Smith finished.

In the excerpt, Smith previously shared that his father was “violent” but never missed a single one of his son’s recitals, games or plays.

“He was an alcoholic, but he was sober at every premiere of every one of my movies,” Smith wrote, adding, “He listened to every record. He visited every studio. The same intense perfectionism that terrorised his family put food on the table every night of my life.”

Will is scheduled to release on 9 November.

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