Will Smith: Why did son Jaden Smith ask to be legally separated from his parents?

Smith said his ‘heart shattered’ when Jaden asked to become separated from him and wife Jada

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 10 November 2021 12:19 GMT
Jaden Smith features in Louis Vuitton campaign
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Will Smith revealed that his son Jaden Smith asked to become emancipated when he was a minor, aged 15.

Jaden’s request came after the pair co-starred in the 2013 film After Earth, which Will described as “an abysmal box office and critical failure”.

“And what was worse was that Jaden took the hit,” Smith wrote in an extract of his new memoir obtained by People, adding: “Jaden had faithfully done everything that I’d instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he’d ever experienced.”

The Independence Day actor described how his “heart shattered” when Jaden asked him to become emancipated, a decision the now 23-year-old star “ultimately decided against”.

What is emancipation and what does it mean?

When a minor becomes emancipated, it means they are removed from the control of their parents or legal guardians. They can take on responsibilities reserved for adults before they reach the age of majority, which is usually 18.

The emancipated minor gains control of their livelihood, from living arrangements to schooling and medical care.

Typically, the minor, once emancipated, would be able to apply for work permits, keep their income and make important medical-related choices for themselves.

(Getty Images for Netflix)

However, many states do place some restrictions, meaning that most emancipated minors would not be able to get married without the consent of their parents or legal guardian, buy or consume alcohol or get a driver’s licence before the legal age.

They would also not be allowed to vote or quit school.

In Jaden’s case, it would have given him the freedom to pick future projects and to negotiate his own salary away from his father.

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