Plenty of tears were shed in episode six of Will Smith’s YouTube series, “Best Shape of My Life.”
The most recent episode of the digital series, which also focuses on Will Smith’s goal of losing 20 pounds in 20 weeks, shows the actor and author coming together with his three children, Trey, 29, Jaden, 23 and Willow, 21, to share the chapters he wrote in his new memoir “Will” about their relationships.
The passages reveal how Will Smith’s parenting mistakes taught him to be a good father.
First up was daughter Willow Smith, whose impactful childhood moment is detailed in a chapter called “Mutiny.”
Will Smith began by recalling the moment the “Whip My Hair” singer, then 9, stepped off a stage after performing on her 30-day European tour.
Willow Smith told her father at the time, “I’m finished, daddy. I’m ready to go home.”
When Smith informed his daughter that she had to keep performing for the rest of the tour dates, she asked, “It doesn’t matter to you that I’m done, daddy?”
The next morning, the “King Richard” actor discovered Willow Smith had shaved her head overnight.
He admitted, “I had become a version of exactly what I was running away from.”
Later in the video, Will Smith circles back to this pivotal moment.
Will Smith wrote his daughter’s simple inquiry was the “deepest existential human question” that helped him discover “feelings.”
“I began to experiment with my parenting by reassessing my relationships with my children in terms of my care and concern for their feelings,” he explained. “I began to be able to perceive emotional injuries of their childhoods.
Recounting raising his three children, Will Smith said, “Trey had gotten the most ignorant version of my parenting, Jaden had got Will Dad 2.0, which was a slight upgrade and even though Willow had had to shave her head, she had stopped me before her point of no return.”
Eldest son Trey Smith, who Will Smith shares with ex-wife Sheree Zampino, was next.
As tears streamed down the actor’s face, he remembered being “overwhelmed” before his first child was born.
Trey and Willow, also crying, reached out their hands to support their father.
“I gently touched Trey’s head and I knew there were only two possibilities,” Will Smith read. “One, I was going to be the best father the planet had ever seen, or, two, I was going to be dead.”
Initially, Jaden’s Smith section began with a funny story of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith realizing she was pregnant.
Then, the tone shifted as Will Smith explained how the father-son team’s film “After Earth,” began as a “magical bonding experience” before becoming a “critical failure.”
“We never discussed it, but I sensed that he felt betrayed and he lost his trust in my leadership,” Will Smith said.
A few years later, at age 15, Jaden Smith asked to be emancipated and his father’s heart “shattered.”
Although Jaden Smith changed his mind, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” alum wrote, “It became clear to me that you can either worry about how people feel or you can win… pick one.”
His children collectively responded, “Wow.”
Jaden Smith then chimed in and added, “‘After Earth’ was the beginning of working on our relationship and our connection. That’s what I got out of it and that’s all I needed to get out of it.”
When Will Smith finished the “four-hour session,” he said to the camera, “I’m here with all my seeds.”
“There’s only one change, so that makes me feel really good,” he concluded before the four of them embraced.
The memoir also touches on the actor’s relationship with his wife.
During a sit-down with TODAY’S Hoda Kotb on Wednesday, he called Jada Pinkett Smith “the best friend I’ve ever had, without question, period.”
“The friendship and the commitment and the devotion that we have for one another is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
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Will Smith’s kids lived parts of his memoir, but still got emotional when he read it to them