Will Smith Opens Up To Wife Jada On Red Table Talk

For a special Father’s Day edition of Red Table Talk, Will Smith is the first person to join Jada Pinkett Smith on the red couch for an intimate one-on-one conversation about parenting, including the lessons they’ve learned, the failures they’ve overcome, and how Will’s divorce from his first wife shaped his approach as a father and husband. Plus, watch never-before-seen Smith family home videos and Father’s Day surprise messages from Trey, Jaden and Willow. Watch the episode  on Facebook Watch HERE.


Highlighted quotes from the episode below.


Will knew he could be a better father than Will Smith Sr. 

  • “By the time I was ten years old, I remember looking at my father and thinking that I could do it better than him.” – Will

“And what made you think you could do it better?” Jada

“My father had a little bit of a temper. I was a gentle kid, like, I was not a kid that you had to slap or punch or beat. So growing up in a household where physical aggression was approved of, that really chaffed my hide. That hurt my spirit.”Will 


  • “I know that you were able to really value your father’s imperfections once he had passed on.”Jada

“Well there’s such beautiful qualities that he instilled that are a big part of what made me me, and as the yin to every yang, I watched [my father] beat up my mother. So the biggest emotional scar that I have in this lifetime, he delivered that also. He showed me a lot of things that I wanted to do, but he also showed me the things I would absolutely, positively never do to my children.”Will


Will gets emotional about becoming a father for the first time

  • “So Will Smith becomes a father at 24… What was that like? Trey being your first born, you’re bringing him home from the hospital.”Jada

“I think that was my first moment of the real weight of parenting. 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.”Will

“You cried from what? What was the feeling?”Jada

“I can’t do it. I’m not the guy. Oh man, I just knew I didn’t know nothing. [Will wipes away tears] Oh man, I’m going to need to get myself together. I’m going to have to walk this one off…  I need a tissue. See I thought the red couch wouldn’t get me like this. The red table always gets you like this.” – WIll


Will opens up about his divorce with ex-wife Sheree Zampino  

  • “I want to talk about one interesting concept that you’ve brought up quite a bit in regard to Trey and divorce. The idea being that just because a man might not be the best husband, does not mean he’s not a good father.” – Jada

“Divorce was the worst thing in my adult life. Divorce was the ultimate failure for me. 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.”Will


  • “Because of my experience of seeing Daddio punch my mother, I knew that my kids would never see me do anything violent towards their mothers, but in the first couple years of Trey’s life, because Sheree and I were divorced, I think my desire to never have my son see me in that way made me more absent as a father.”Will


  • “Sheree and I really struggled with each other needing the other person to do it their way. She needed me to father the way she wanted Trey fathered, and I’m not that guy. I’m not the parent-teacher meeting, throwing baseballs with the kids [guy], and I beat myself up for that for a while, wanting to be that dad. I am the ‘we are going to build something together for work’ dad.” – Will

“Right! Like your father was to you.”Jada


Will on being a present father, commuting every weekend for ten weeks from Jaden’s “Karate Kid” set in Beijing to watch Trey play football in Los Angeles

  • “We were shooting ‘Karate Kid’ in Beijing, and it was during Trey’s football season. That was a very difficult time for our family, and Jaden and I commuted from Beijing every single Friday. We would fly and land Friday afternoon in LA, go to Trey’s football game, we would stay home Saturday, and then fly back to be at work on Monday morning in Beijing. [We did that] for ten weeks. I would say that is the highpoint of my parenting. There’s very few things in my life I enjoyed as much as watching that boy play football, and he loved me watching him doing it. He could feel my authentic joy to be there… Going from the ‘Karate Kid’ and flying home every weekend to watch Trey play, I was like I’m fathering the hell out these kids!”Will


Jada asks Jaden if he wants to stop shooting a “Karate Kid” scene

  • “Do you remember the moment with Jaden with the splits?” Will

“I was there.”Jada

“That moment was when I knew that the bulk of my fathering was done… So, Jaden was trying to learn how to do the splits for ’Karate Kid,’ and so he’s in the splits and he can’t quite get down into the splits. So, he’s trying to get it, he’s trying to get it, and tears are in his eyes, and Master Wu walks up behind him and steps on his back and pushes him down into the splits… and Jaden is crying, he’s crying, he’s crying… He lets him out of the splits, and [Jaden] comes over.” – Will

“I went over there. [Jaden] was in tears, and I said, ‘Are you done? Because we are going to stop right now,’ and [Jaden] said, ‘No.’”Jada

“And [Jaden] turned and looked at Master Wu and he said, ‘One more time.’’Will

“That was a turning point.” – Jada 

“Daddio would have made me do it one more time, and Jaden decided on his own with the option of not doing it again.” – Will


Will was devastated when Willow shaved her head

  • “[Willow] had committed to these 30 days on [the] ‘Whip My Hair’ [tour]. We were in Dublin, Ireland, and she did her fourth or fifth show, and [Willow] came off stage and was like, ‘I’m ready to go, Daddy.’ She was ready to go home, and I was like, ‘Well no, you can’t go home, baby. You committed to 30 days. You can’t go home.’ She kept asking, ‘Daddy, it doesn’t matter how I feel?’ And I was like, ‘Yes baby, it does matter how you feel, but you have to finish what you started.’ And she was like, “But I’m finished.’ It was so devastating to me when she shaved her head bald.” Will

“Really?” – Jada

“Well because her record is ‘Whip My Hair.’ I’m like, that’s a protest against me.” – Will 


Willow introduced Will to feelings

  • “[Willow] introduced me to feelings… I would say that ‘Whip My Hair’ thing put a pause button on my overt parenting. I stopped, and I just started watching my kids, and with Willow, I started to see that there was a higher value in talking to her about how she feels about the situation versus how to fix the situation, and it became the new thought process for me.”Will