Beyond rap, the Grammys, Uncle Phil’s mansion in Bel-Air and Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, there is a history of abuse, trauma and insecurity. ‘Will’ arrives in Spain, the memories of a megastar on the edge of the precipice
- PLACE Will Smith talks about the moment his marriage stopped being Mongolian
Will Smith went out in his underwear and slippers into the garden of his house. He opened his tracksuit jacket and showed off a beer belly lady. She posed like a diva with lorzas and then uploaded the photo to her Instagram account.It was last May 3. “Be honest with you, I’m in the worst shape of my life”. Will Smith has four Grammys, two Oscar nominations, many of the highest-grossing films in movie history, and almost 57 million followers on the social network. His belly generated hundreds of thousands of comments, almost seven million likes and a wave of similar postings around the world. After all, in the midst of a pandemic, most of us were in the worst shape of our lives.
The actor had gained weight to shoot a movie in which plays the father of the Williams sisters -yes, the tennis players- and the end of the production was joined with a confinement in which he was blind to muffins of chocolate. That pose of Will above 100 kilos, of course, was not accidental. Just hours later, he announced a six-chapter docuseries on YouTube in which he challenged himself to lose twenty pounds in 20 weeks and finish his memoirs in the meantime.
Just turned 53, Will Smith has regained his superhero abs and has just published in Spain an autobiography written with the help of Mark Manson -author of The subtle art of giving a shit (almost everything )- that has scandalized much more than her belly. The real excuse to get naked live. Rarely does a global megastar speak so clearly about their fears and their weaknesses behind the scenes. Will (ed. Zenith), which is the name of the book – in a pun on his name and the word Will in English – it is his particular ego diet, a tale laden with childhood trauma, domestic violence, bullying, excesses, toxic relationships, shitty sex and travels of ayahuasca.
“I created the Will Smith narrative and then the movie companies sold it. Much of it was true, but there are certain aspects of it all that were avoided. At this point in my life authenticity is much more powerful than mystery.” admits the actor in the docuseries The best shape of my life (The best way of my life).
The story starts, of course, west in Philadelphia.
I thought about taking pills and had seen people slit their wrists on television.
Willard Carroll Smith Jr. was called a “trophy head” at school because he had ears like the European Cup. On his first day in high school, a boy hit him in the face with a padlock and he fell face-first on the stairs. When he was 13 his father hit his mother for the last time and little Will imagined what it would be like to commit suicide. “I thought about taking pills, I also knew a place on the train tracks where a child had lost his legs and had seen people cut their wrist veins in a bathtub on television,” he says in the book. She didn’t kill herself because her grandmother Gigi had told her that taking her own life was a sin, so she decided to take refuge on TV to dream of being one day like JR in Dallas. “In real life I I buried my flaws with layers and layers of interpretation. She adopted a personality that was tirelessly cheerful, optimistic, and positive. “The more hosts she carried, the more delivered she made.
One day Will came to class late and his teacher said, “His Highness the Prince is two minutes late.” Will corrected her, “No, Miss Brown, we both know I’m only thirty seconds late. And if you don’t mind, from now on I demand that you refer to me as Fresh Prince“The whole class burst out laughing.
The joke works better in the original version because here at Fresh Prince he was always called The Prince of Bel-Air. But the fact is that that day the legend of Will Smith was born. In the mid-80s, he discovered music and a DJ named Jazzy Jeff and together they revolutionized the hip hop industry. In 1989 they won the first Grammy in history dedicated to rap. “At twenty, he was a world-famous rapper, a Grammy Award winner, and a rookie millionaire,” he says.
The next chapter in his book, however, is called PAIN. Thus, in uppercase. His then girlfriend cheated on him and Will Smith entered a vortex of shopping and rampant sex. “I had sex with so many women, and it was so utterly unpleasant, that I developed a psychosomatic reaction to having an orgasm. It literally made me gag, and sometimes even vomit.” Ten pages later: “Once you are rich, famous, and successful, and still feel insecure and unhappy, a terrifying thought begins to haunt you: Maybe I’m the problem.”
She developed a psychosomatic reaction to having an orgasm. It made me gag and sometimes even vomited
At this point in Will Smith’s life we all knew who Will Smith was. A handsome guy with flared ears, extraordinarily nice, always smiling. Behind the cameras the torment continued. He spent up to $ 10,000 a day between parties, rum punches, and fingers of chicken. A debt with the Treasury led him to ruin. “I was rich and famous, but without the rich part, and without the famous part.” Traveling to Bel-Air saved his life, in fiction and in real life. Quincy Jones’ spoiled child amassed ten million viewers a week in the United States alone. The new Eddie Murphy. Will Smith wanted to be the biggest star in Hollywood and he succeeded. In the nineties, he began to chain blockbusters. Dos policas rebeldes, Independence Day, Men in Black…More than 7 billion euros at the box office worldwide. Two Oscar nominations. More than 30 million records sold. Before he turned 40 he had already become the most profitable actor in the history of cinema … Before he turned 30 he already had a son and a divorce.
The crisis with his second wife, Jada Pinkett, mother of his other two children, returned to lead the actor to the brink. “He had achieved everything he had always dreamed of: career, family, business, health, superstardom and a house with a name. In fact, it was even more and better than he had ever dreamed of,” writes Smith. “How could my life be disintegrating … again?”
The final part of Will takes our protagonist on a spiritual retreat, away from the noise and the lights. “Am I an addict? I don’t take drugs, hardly drink, and I’m not hooked on sex like a hyena either. However, I didn’t know how to stop, how to be still or how to be silent or alone. I was addicted to the approval of others and , to be sure, I was hooked on winning. “
I was addicted to the approval of others and, to assure myself, I had been hooked on winning
Fourteen ayahuasca ceremonies helped him out of the hole and turned Will Smith into a cup of Mr. Wonderful. “I caught a glimpse of the secret of ‘the Smile’ for the first time. I had misunderstood the physics of ultimate happiness. I thought that I could reach love and happiness by winning, conquering, achieving, conquering and acquiring,” confesses the actor. “Being brave means learning to keep going despite the terror.”
Mark Manson, co-author of Will Smith’s memoir, once asked the actor what the secret of his success had been. “The trick is to bite off more than you can chew and still chew it all up.”Will told him. “Your mind always believes that it can do less than it really can.”
Today we know that there was much more behind that success, more even than Will Smith fans wanted to know. After the publication of his book, his followers have begun to collect signatures so that Will and his wife stop airing their intimate life in the press. More than 22,000 people have already signed up for the prncipe close your mouth once.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism