• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Will Smith says 'you can't protect your family' in David Letterman interview recorded before controversial Oscars slap

·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Will Smith
Will Smith appeared on Netflix's "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman."Pablo Cuadra / WireImage
  • Will Smith, 53, appeared in a new season of "My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman."

  • Smith told Letterman that "safety is an illusion" and he "always thought of himself as a coward."

  • The episode was filmed before Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in March 2022. 

Will Smith reflected on his career, family, and personal journey in a David Letterman interview recorded prior to the 2022 Oscars.

Season 4 of "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" dropped on Netflix Friday with an appearance from the Academy Award-winning actor in episode two. Smith's episode opened with a disclaimer that read, "The episode was recorded prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony."

Near the end of the interview, Smith, 53, discussed his realization that the "material world is completely, utterly, and totally incapable of sustaining our happiness."

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith, and Trey Smith arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in March 2022.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Will Smith, Jaden Smith, and Trey Smith arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in March 2022.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

"Beyond the essentials of protecting yourself and your family," Letterman, 75, added.

"You can't protect your family, right?" Smith said. "That's not real. Protection and safety is an illusion. You have to learn to live with the reality that any moment, anything can be gone in one second."

Smith, a father to three children, added: "So with that reality, how can you be here? And how can you be joyful and be here?"

In the same interview, Smith spoke about his November 2021 memoir "Will." The memoir included candid details, including that his son Jaden Smith asked about becoming an emancipated minor at 15 years old. 

"The first line of the first chapter is, 'I've always thought of myself as a coward," Smith told Letterman. "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 cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Will Smith cries as he accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "King Richard" at the 2022 Oscars.Chris Pizzello/AP

Smith added that reflecting while writing his memoir helped him become a more relatable actor.

"Life is so exciting to me right now, because I can reach people differently than I've ever been able to reach people, largely because of my pain," he said. "I'm really ready to dive into my art in a way that I think will be hopefully fulfilling for me and helpful for the human family."

"My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman" follows the TV legend as he interviews global figures from various industries. Season 4 features six episodes, including appearances from celebrities like Cardi B, Billie Eilish, and Kevin Durant.

Smith and Rock have spoken out after the controversial Oscars slap

In April, Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage during the 2022 Academy Awards after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock, 57, made a joke about Pinket Smith's bald head despite her publicly announcing she has alopecia.

Smith apologized to the Academy in his acceptance speech and later to Rock in an Instagram post. 

"I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris," Smith wrote. "I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be."

US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.
US actor Will Smith (R) slaps US actor Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Academy launched a formal review into the incident before banning Smith from attending the Oscars for 10 years. 

Since then, Rock has performed at comedy shows and addressed the incident.

"I got smacked by the softest n---- that ever rapped," Rock said during a show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He later joked that he got "most of his hearing back" following the slap, The Telegraph reported.

"Anyone who says 'words hurt' has never been punched in the face," Rock said.

Read the original article on Insider