Will Smith sat down with Haute Living Magazine and opened up about his life, his famous family, and the year that almost broke the Smith clan. Smith said that in 2012, his family rejected his leadership — and thus the family unit suffered. The I Am Legend star confessed that this disconnect within his family caused the actor to have a “midlife crisis” of sorts.
In 2012, Smith’s youngest daughter Willow released her chart-topping “Whip My Hair.” Smith noted that his own father ran his family military style, and while he attempted to mimic that style of leadership, it backfired.
“Willow was really the first person during ‘Whip My Hair’ that decided she didn’t want to do what I said. Because she was the baby girl, she really had the most power over me. As a man ― if your daughter says no, there’s really nothing you can do,” Smith revealed.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air star went on to say how Willow rebelled so hard against her father’s guidance during her “Whip My Hair” success, she went so far as to shave her head bald.
Smith took a step back and saw his family unfolding. Though a great year of success for Smith, he knew he needed to take some time off to focus on his family who he felt were deeply unhappy.
“That was really the first time that I realized that my family wasn’t happy with the direction that I was taking them. I felt like I was winning. We were succeeding. We had ‘Karate Kid.’ We had ‘Whip My Hair.’ Jada had ‘Hawthorne,’ and we hosted when Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize ― we hosted all of that in one year. I felt we were doing well, and my family wasn’t happy. So, I took two years off,” the Aladdin star said, looking back on the family’s success.
During this period of reflection for the Smith family, the patriarch took time to reconnect with himself and family. He spent his time reading and traveling, and says that now he has a new and more direct focus on his life and the people that surround him. Taking risks on the screen and in his life, Smith spent his 50th birthday by jumping out of a helicopter into the Grand Canyon.
“I knew there was more I needed to know other than conquering in movies, conquering in television, conquering in music and entertainment. I had done all this conquering, but no one around me was happy. So, I shut it down, and in that time I discovered so much new wisdom, so many new ideas. I traveled, and I met people, I studied. I probably read 50 books in the last four years,” Smith added.