Will Smith is known as the lively, fun-loving, and talented actor/artist we’ve seen on our TV and movie screens since the ’80s. He’s also known for being a devoted family man who gives his children the freedom to express themselves creatively. But there was a time when he wasn’t quite so confident in his parenting abilities. He recently opened up about that time during a Father’s Day episode of his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk.
In his first one-on-one RTT interview, Smith shed a few tears as he tells the story of bringing his first son, Trey, home from the hospital. As his then-wife Sheree Zampino slept, Smith nervously checked on baby Trey to make sure he was still breathing. The actor says he remembers feeling overcome with fear as a 24-year-old first-time dad.
“I think that was my first moment of the real weight of parenting,” Smith said. “I brought him home, and I remember we put him in the bassinet… and it was like stark terror. I’m totally responsible for this life. I just cried so hard. It makes me teary right now.”
As tears well up in his eyes, Smith admitted, “[I felt like,] I can’t do it,” he says. “I’m not the guy. I just knew I didn’t know anything. In that moment, [I was thinking] how much better than me my father was. It was on me now.”
Grab a tissue and watch the clip below.
Will also opened up about divorcing Trey’s mom and the difficulty they had co-parenting in the beginning. Though they have a friendly relationship now (Zampino has even appeared on an episode of RTT for a discussion with Jada), Smith was honest that his issues with Zampino caused him to be a distant father at one point. “Divorce was the ultimate failure for me,” he said. “I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my two-year-old son’s mother. If a man’s not a great husband, then he loses his parental rights. And I’m a way better father than I am a husband.”
Towards the end of the episode, Jada also teared up while thanking Will for being such a committed dad.
Vulnerability – we love to see it! Watch Will and Jada’s full Red Table Talk conversation here.