Will Smith says he thought about suicide aged 13 after his mother left

Smith’s autobiography is released today (9 November)

Sam Moore
Wednesday 10 November 2021 07:32
Comments
Will Smith holds assembly

Will Smith has revealed that he had suicidal thoughts when he was 13.

In his new memoir, Will, the Bad Boys star confessed that he contemplated suicide after his mother, who suffered physical abuse from his father, left home.

Smith writes that his mother’s departure left him feeling lonely and guilty.

The Men in Black actor wrote of his mother leaving: “She’d had enough. She went to work the next morning and didn’t come home. She didn’t go far – just a few blocks to (grandmother) Gigi’s house – but the message was clear: She was done.”

Smith added: “I thought about pills; I knew where a boy had lost his legs on the train tracks; I had seen people cut their wrists in a bathtub on TV.”

Elsewhere in the book, Smith discusses how he witnessed his father beat his mother during his childhood: “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 also writes how his life has been defined by witnessing his father abuse his mother: “There has been a subtle string of apologies to my mother for my inaction that day. For failing her in the moment. For failing to stand up to my father. For being a coward.”

As a result of the abuse, Smith said it led to him fantasising about killing his father: “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.”

Will is out today (9 November) via Penguin RandomHouse.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, on 0808 2000 247, or visit their website here.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in