Reason For The Slap?! Will Smith Talks ‘Pain’ From Childhood With David Letterman In New Pre-Oscars Interview

Will Smith is getting candid about the “pain” in his life — and it’s giving a lot of backstory for the reason he had such an outburst at the 2022 Academy Awards!

In a new interview on David Letterman’s Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, filmed BEFORE the controversial Oscars slap, the actor opened up about the “trauma” that he had to endure throughout his childhood and career, similarly detailed in his 2021 memoir, Will.

Just so nobody was confused, the show even began with a title page that read:

“This episode was filmed prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony.”

Still, there were some really interesting topics discussed that may connect back to the drama!

Related: Chris Rock Jokes About The Infamous Will Smith Slap Yet AGAIN!

As he has mentioned before, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air alum explained that he’s “always thought of [himself] as a coward,” mostly after he witnessed his father “beat up” his mother when he was young and did not do anything to intervene. After growing up around violence, he decided he wanted to share more positive energy with those around him, he elaborated:

“When I showed up, I wanted people to feel good and be happy. Because I found that when my household was that way, I felt safe.”

Interestingly, the King Richard actor actually mimed a few fights during the convo, even pretending to punch David when he referenced his mother, joking:

“Don’t say nothing about my mother, Dave.”

But, uhhh, it’s startling to see Will even joking about punching someone now after he slapped the s**t out of Chris Rock during the Oscars in March!

Will seriously shocked the world when he made this move… /(c) ABC

The Men in Black star went on to recall a moment he saw his “whole life getting destroyed” after taking Ayahuasca, a psychoactive brew.

Seeing as the Oscars drama has caused him to lose out on career opportunities and ruffled feathers with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, it’s particularly noteworthy that after having some sort of vision while on the drug, he recalled:

“When I came out of it, I realized that anything that happens in my life, I can handle it. I can handle any person I lose. I can handle anything that goes wrong in my life. I can handle anything in my marriage.”

Huh! Hopefully, that confidence has stayed with him following this controversy!

Related: Will Smith & Jada Are ‘Committing To Therapy’ After Chris Rock Slap

The 53-year-old also shared that it’s impossible to “protect” his family despite wanting to, adding:

“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. So, with that reality, how can you be here? And how can you be joyful and be here?”

By the end of the conversation, Will suggested he believes he’s “unlocked” a new level of himself as an actor now that he’s taken the time to process the pain and trauma of his life in his memoir, saying:

“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. 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.”

Hmm. Will he get the chance to truly show film lovers this new “unlocked” talent? We’ll have to see.

Ever since he got physically violent during live television, just after Chris Rock made a joke about Jada’s shaved head, Will has had to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (he was also banned for 10 years). Now, obviously, none of his past trauma makes his violent actions just — but it certainly gives a little insight into one possible reason he reacted so harshly after one of his family members was being made fun of!

Thoughts, Perezcious readers??

[Image via Netflix/YouTube & ABC]