Will Smith appears on David Letterman’s show post Oscar controversy, opens up about feeling like a ‘coward’: ‘Saw my father beat my mother…’

Netflix recently released Will Smith’s episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman. This is Smith’s first interview to stream since his controversial assault on Oscar presenter Chris Rock earlier this year. However, the interview with David Letterman was recorded before the Oscars ceremony.

In the interview, Smith talked about his acting and music career, getting disillusioned with everything at one point and his experience with the plant-based psychedelic Ayahuasca. The actor also opened up about his childhood, why he never cursed in his raps and feeling like a ‘coward’ growing up.

When asked about his childhood, Will Smith said that while growing up he never felt as confident as people perceive him to be right now. “When I was 9 years old, I saw my father beat up my mother and I didn’t do anything (about it). And that just left a traumatic impression on myself as a coward,” Smith said. The King Richard actor mentioned how he then resorted to comedy as a defense mechanism thinking that “negativity cannot exist inside a human body when you’re laughing”.

Incidentally, Smith had a tough time taking a joke, distasteful as it was in nature, when Oscar presenter and stand-up comedian Chris Rock cracked a joke about Will Smith‘s wife and actor Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair. Jada has previously spoken about suffering from a hair loss condition called Alopecia. Smith went up to the stage and slapped Rock for the joke, came down and sat in his seat whilst continuing to verbally abuse the stand-up comedian. Later, Smith apologised to Rock via a social media statement, and has since been banned from attending the Academy Awards ceremony for a decade.

Later, when speaking about his music career, Smith mentioned how he ‘hated’ being called a ‘soft’ rapper because he never really cursed in his songs. The actor explained that his grandmother was the reason he never chose to include expletives in his music, as she had once said to him that only weak people resort to such means to express themselves.

Smith also spoke about the time he had become disenchanted with material gains at the peak of his stardom, and elaborated upon his two-year sabbatical from acting. The actor said that he consumed the plant-based psychedelic Ayahuasca, and while he was tripping on it, he saw the destruction of everything he cherished. But when he came out of it, Smith said he understood that “safety is an illusion” and that you cannot really protect anyone. “When I came out of it, I realized that anything that happens in my life, I can handle it. I can handle any person I lose. I can handle anything that goes wrong in my life. I can handle anything in my marriage,” he added.

Interestingly, both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have spoken about issues in their marriage, with Jada even admitting getting involved with singer August Alsina. Will has also been open about having an open marriage. The couple has two children together — Jaden Smith and Willow Smith. Will also has an elder son called Trey Smith, from his previous marriage to Sheree Zampino.

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