Will Smith welcomed his son Trey Smith with ex-wife Sheree Zampino
Will Smith and his son Trey Smith are now closer than ever — but their relationship wasn’t always that way.
Early in Will’s career, he married his first wife Sheree Zampino and shortly after, they welcomed their son Trey. While Will says that he immediately recognized the profound impact of fatherhood at age 24, he took a step back from his role as a dad when he and Sheree divorced two years later.
Looking back, Will explained that he hoped by giving the relationship some distance, Trey wouldn't have to experience animosity between his parents and believed that when his son was ready, he would reach out to him. Years later, Trey did just that, and the father-son duo began to rebuild their relationship.
Nowadays, the pair consider themselves best friends. Reflecting on their tight-knit relationship, Trey said he felt "grateful" to have Will as his dad in a 2019 Father's Day tribute on Instagram.
“Every time I post a picture of you, a few people will put themselves up for adoption regardless of their age, wish you were their dad, or my personal favorite, call you a national treasure and ask that we protect you at all cost. ... I agree with ALL of their sentiments," Trey captioned a family photo featuring him, Will, "bonus mom" Jada Pinkett Smith and his siblings, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith.
Here's everything to know about Will Smith’s son, Trey Smith.
Trey is Will’s only child with Zampino
On Nov. 11, 1992, Will and Zampino welcomed their first and only child, a son named Willard Carroll “Trey” Smith III. The Men in Black actor says he felt an immediate connection to his son, named after him.
“I brought him home, we put him in the bassinet. ... It was like stark terror. I’m totally responsible for this life and I couldn't stop going and checking. ... I just cried so hard. It makes me teary right now,” Will said during an appearance on Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk in 2020.
He continued, “I just knew I didn’t know nothing. ... It hit me how fragile parenting is. Just in that moment, I could see all the spectacular lessons my father had instilled in me, and I was like, there’s no way. I’m not that good.”
Will and Zampino divorced when Trey was a child
When Trey was 2 years old, Will and Zampino split after the actor "had a realization that [he] wasn’t with the person [he] was supposed to be with.” According to the Hitch star, she filed for divorce, and they officially separated in 1995. Will has since called the period “the worst thing” in his adult life.
“Divorce was the ultimate failure for me,” he shared on Red Table Talk. “I’ve been hurt a lot in my adult life, but I don’t think anything touches the failure of getting divorced from my 2-year-old son’s mother. Sheree and I ran into that — if a man’s not a great husband, then he loses his parental rights.”
Will added, “I’m a way better father than I am a husband. In that process, you start fighting for your rights, and the kid is in the middle.”
Trey had a strained relationship with Will growing up
Following Will and Zampino’s divorce, the actor admits that his relationship with Trey grew strained because he didn’t want his son to see his father and mother fighting over him, so he instead became distant.
“In the first couple years of Trey’s life, because Sheree and I were divorced, I think my desire to never have my son see me in that way made me more absent as a father,” he explained on Red Table Talk. “I wanted to create enough distance. We not gonna be cursing, we not gonna be fighting.”
At the time, Will says he felt that by "surrendering" the relationship, he was doing the best thing he could for his son — knowing that his son would reach out to him in his own time.
“[My dad] said, ‘When he’s 13, he’s gonna come look for you.’ And then I just kind of backed up a little bit and it was like, if Trey wants to come over, he can come over but I’m not going to force you to do anything, especially if your mother wants something different,” Will said. “And that was a really difficult time.”
Trey also had a tough relationship with Zampino
While Trey spent much of his childhood with his mother, he later admitted to Zampino that he “didn’t feel loved” by her as a kid. In a conversation many years later, Zampino says that Trey told her he didn’t feel like she cared about his feelings.
“One of the things that my son said to me when he started to do the work [on forgiveness], one of the things that came up for him, he felt that he wasn’t loved," she shared during an appearance on Red Table Talk in 2022. "I said, ‘Oh my God, your father loved you, what are you talking about?’ He said, ‘I’m not talking about him, I’m talking about you.' "
According to Trey, his feelings weren't acknowledged when he experienced disappointments.
"Because I was around so many women, I would be like, ‘You’re okay.’ I would cheer him on instead of just sit in that space with him, and just be there, [and say] ‘How you feel? It's okay to feel,’ ” Zampino said.
She added that she later realized that what Trey said was true because she not only didn’t care about his feelings, but she also didn’t care about her own.
Reflecting on the situation, she said she “didn’t know how” to care about his feelings at the time because she thought she had to be “stoic” and “tough” to get through life. The pair have since mended their relationship.
Will and Trey now consider themselves best friends
Although Will initially had a challenging relationship with Trey, they now call each other best friends. The Bad Boys cast member said everything went as his father, Willard Carroll Smith Sr., had predicted, and as Trey got older, he reached out.
“Just like Daddio said, as soon as Trey was ready, he came looking for his father,” Will recalled on Red Table Talk.
Over the next few years, Will and Trey worked on rebuilding their relationship, with Will sharing that he began looking for things they both enjoyed doing. By the time Trey reached high school, they had developed a shared passion for football.
Will was so committed to Trey’s football career that while filming Karate Kid in China, he would commute back to Los Angeles on weekends to attend Trey’s games.
“We would fly and land Friday afternoon in L.A., go to Trey’s football game. We would stay home for Saturday and then fly back, be at work on Monday morning in Beijing for 10 weeks,” Will said on Red Table Talk. “I would say that’s the high point of my parenting. There’s very few things in my life I enjoy as much as watching that boy play football.”
In 2018, Will opened up about how far the pair had come and how their relationship had evolved through the years in an Instagram video. The father of three shared that Trey had recently referred to him as his “best friend,” and it was emotional for him.
“It has not always been like this between Trey & I. We STRUGGLED FOR YEARS after my Divorce from his Mother. He felt betrayed & abandoned. It is a Wild Blessing to recover & restore a Loving Relationship with My Beautiful Son!” Will wrote in the caption.
Trey has appeared on-screen with Will
Throughout his life, Trey has appeared in several of Will’s projects. When he was 5 years old, he was featured in Will’s music video for his rendition of Bill Withers’ “Just the Two of Us” — which paid tribute to father-son relationships.
Will later penned a children’s book of the same name based on his own relationship with his firstborn. Trey later appeared in Will’s television series All Of Us, which also featured Jaden.
While Trey has not continued to pursue acting, he did appear in the 2008 short film The Speech.
He released his debut album in 2020
For the past decade, Trey has been building a career in the music industry. He initially released work under his DJ project, AcE, and had the opportunity to perform at festivals and clubs around the world, explaining on a bio page that he aimed “to bring light to each and every person’s soul” at his shows.
He even released a song called “Find You Somewhere” as a collaboration with his siblings, Jaden and Willow. In 2020, he released his debut album, Best Wishes.
Trey is now launching music under his own name. So far, he’s dropped two songs, “Mom & Babe” and “Out Of KNoWWhere,” as well as a collab with Ky Almighty titled "On the Other Side."
Trey enjoys streaming on Twitch
Trey is a longtime fan of video games and through the years, has shared his passion for gaming by streaming and hosting various gaming events. He recently rededicated himself to streaming on his Twitch and YouTube channels, and has so far hosted several broadcasts while playing Fortnite.
He’s very close with Jaden and Willow
Trey grew up alongside Jaden and Willow — and the trio are incredibly close. They often spend time together, and Jaden has even appeared on one of Trey’s gaming streams.
Through the years, the siblings have posted sweet messages to each other on social media and fondly shared throwback photos from their childhood.
“I Am Far Too Proudness Of You,” Trey wrote on Jaden’s 21st birthday in 2019. “You Deserve Everything In Life. Your Heart & Spirit Are Far Too Resplendent.”
In a separate 18th birthday tribute for Willow in 2018, he added, “That is so My Girl Right There. I Love You More than you will Ever Know ❤ HAVE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!!!”
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