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Will Smith Felt Like A 'Coward' For Not Protecting Mum From Abuse

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Will Smith Felt Like A 'Coward' For Not Protecting Mum From Abuse

Will Smith has opened up about his past, admitting he felt like a ‘coward’ for not protecting his mum from the abuse she suffered at the hands of his dad. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star appeared on a recent episode of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman where he discussed a whole manner of topics, from his rap origins to his spiritual explorations. 

The pair also touched upon Smith’s recent memoir Will, which the 53-year-old star described as a ‘labour of excruciating discovery’ as he had to dig into how he truly felt about various events throughout his life. 

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Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

As they discussed the purpose of the book, Smith spoke about his parents – the late ​​Willard Carroll Smith Sr. and Caroline Bright. 

“What I realised, there’s a person that you want to be and there’s a person you want to be viewed as, and then there’s who you really are,” Smith said. 

“The first line of the first chapter is, ‘I’ve always thought of myself as a coward.’ 

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“When I was nine years old I saw my father beat up my mother and I didn’t do anything. And that just left a traumatic impression of myself as a coward.

Will Smith with his mum Caroline Bright. Credit: Alamy
Will Smith with his mum Caroline Bright. Credit: Alamy

“And then when I discovered comedy I realised negativity cannot exist inside of a human body when you’re laughing.”

He continued: “I started to cling to a natural ability I had to make people laugh. So it started as a defence mechanism. 

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“But ultimately Will Smith became a symbol of joy and fun, and when I showed up I wanted people to feel good and to be happy because I’ve found that when my household was that way, I felt safe.”

Highlighting Smith’s numerous appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman over the years, the host said: “That’s the guy that we know from when you would visit us on the show,” adding that for Will it was a ‘means of surviving’. 

Another topic fans were hoping to hear about was, of course, the infamous Oscars slap

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy
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Most of you will be aware of the recent controversy whereby the King Richard star slapped Chris Rock across the face for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. 

However, as is highlighted at the start of the episode, it was recorded prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony and so there was no way it could’ve featured in the show.

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Featured Image Credit: Netflix/Alamy

Topics: Film & TV, Will Smith, Domestic Abuse, Netflix

Daisy Phillipson
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