Over the years, American actor Will Smith has become one of the most notable icons to grace the TV screens. More remarkable than his acting prowess, however, is his extraordinary parenting and love for family.
Famous for his flawless rendition of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, actor and producer, Will Smith has come a long way in the entertainment industry. Now a father of three, the actor has undoubtedly left behind his days as the smooth-talking, street-smart, fictionalized Will Smith. In its stead is a father of three who is religiously dedicated to family, but his old title still lingers.
THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR
For six seasons and 148 episodes, Will Smith thrilled viewers as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the ’90s sitcom. He starred as himself in the series playing the role of the teenager who ended up in his upper-class relatives’ custody after being forced to leave his West Philadelphia hometown.
Fans watched as the young Smith tried to adjust to a life of affluence with the Banks, including his uncle Phil, aunt Vivian, and three cousins, Hilary, Carlton, and Ashley. His humorous displays in the little Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air won hearts for years until the show’s last-run in 1996.
During a special reunion of the original cast of “Fresh Prince” on Will Smith’s two-part quarantine Snapchat Series finale titled “Will From Home,” the actor admitted that the best times of his life “may have been on that set.” The Banks’ entirety, excluding James Avery, (uncle Phil), who passed away from an open heart surgery complication in 2013, graced the emotional virtual reunion.
WILL SMITH’S MARRIAGE TO SHEREE ZAMPINO
The 51-year-old actor has been married twice. His first was to Sheree Zampino, with whom he shares his first son, Willard Carroll Trey Smith, 27. The two got married in 1992 and were together for three years before their 1995 divorce. The first of Will Smith’s Kids, Trey, has made several appearances on TV, including two episodes of “All of Us.”
23 YEARS AND COUNTING WITH JADA PINKETT SMITH
Two years after his divorce from Zampino, Will tied the knot with American actress, Jada Koren Pinkett. A year after their nuptials, the couple welcomed their first son together, Jaden Smith, in 1998. In 2000, they welcomed a daughter, Willow Camille Smith.
Will and his wife have notably become one of Hollywood’s power couples thanks to their long-lasting marriage, which still blossoms over 23 years later. Will and Pinkett’s children got an early start in entertainment, with their daughter making her music debut at age 9, with the music, “Whip My Hair.” She has also starred alongside her dad in “I am Legend.” Will Smith’s son, Jaden, made star appearances in movies like “After Earth,” “The Pursuit of Happyness,” and “Karate Kid.”
THE HIGH POINT OF FATHERHOOD
As a father, Will Smith realizes how important it is to be there for all his kids, without making anyone feel left out. Speaking on his highest point of parenting on the “Red Table Talk,” the TV idol narrated his experience with the shooting of Jaden’s debut movie, “Karate Kid.”
The star recounted how he had to be there for Jaden in Beijing for the shooting without missing Trey’s football matches in LA. To create a balance, the icon made a point of flying home to LA every weekend with Jaden to see Trey’s game and get back to work in Beijing by Monday. That went on for ten weeks, he recalled.
Watching his then 12-year-old son pull off the movie role despite the situation and several daunting experiences made Will Smith realize he had done a great job at parenting his kids.
WILL SMITH ON PARENTING
Will has been open about how certain decisions have shaped his path and how he has come to view parenting and family life. In a father’s day episode of Pinkett’s Facebook series, “Red Table Talk,” which aired on Tuesday, June 16, the couple spoke in-depth about their 23-year journey as parents.
The actor recalled how his first divorce contributed to his new perspective as a father and husband. Having aspired to become a dad from the tender age of six, the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star was glad to have his dad, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., present as an “excellent educator” while growing up. Although their temperaments were seemingly opposites, the star admittedly learned invaluable nuggets from his dad, including discipline and “teaching in the moment.”
One of the teachable moments he had lived through was watching his daughter stage a protest to defend what she wanted. Will recounted how Willow shaved her hair in 2010, during a 30-day tour to promote her debut single, “Whip My Hair.”
The then preteen made the move after her dad refused her request to quit the tour mid-way and go home. Will realized at that moment that in a bid to preach discipline to his kids, he had ultimately put his desires before hers. That changed everything for him. The icon shared:
“She introduced me to feelings. With Willow, I started to see how there was a higher value in talking to her about how she feels about the situation versus how to fix the situation. It became the new thought process for me.”
Will learned from the experience that kids were their own people and not their parent’s properties. That single encounter has shaped his role as a father.