Will Smith on family's unhappiness - 'Willow was the first to mutiny'

"No one wanted to be in a platoon."

US actor Will Smith, with his award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for
Will Smith celebrating his Best Actor Oscar win in 2022 with sons Trey and Jaden, daughter Willow and wife Jada Pinkett Smith. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Oscar-winning actor Will Smith has said he realised his pursuit of happiness wasn't what he thought it was just when he thought he and his family had hit the top.

Following the end of his breakthrough role in the Fresh Prince in 1996, Smith began to stack up the blockbuster hits over the next 15 years.

As the A-lister became one of Hollywood's most bankable stars (Men in Black, Independence Day, Bad Boys to name a few), the careers of the rest of his family were also taking off.

Joining Kevin Hart for the season 3 finale of talkshow Hart to Heart, Smith talked about son Jaden's lead role in the Karate Kid remake and the release of daughter Willow's debut single 'Whip My Hair' as the moment the Smiths had appeared to conquer the world.

"2010 was like the greatest year as an artist, as a parent," he said. "Karate Kid came out in June, 'Whip My Hair' came out in October.

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"I'm building this dream of a family I've had in my mind. I'm going to do it better than my father did it. We've talked about it, my father was abusive. I told myself I would never have that kind of energy with my family and I had a dream, an idea of a family I was building.

"Pretty much 2010 to 2012 I had achieved everything I had ever dreamed."

Reprising Agent J in the 2012 movie Men in Black 3. (Sony Pictures)

However, despite achieving such incomparable superstardom, the rest of the Smith clan didn't buy into the his dream.

"No one wanted to be in a platoon," the Men in Black and Bad Boys favourite said. "Willow was the first one to begin the mutiny and it was my first realisation that success and money don't mean happiness. Up until that point, I really believed that you could succeed your way – to a house and a family – and you could win your way to happiness."

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It was at this juncture Smith realised "material circumstances" do not equate to happiness, but in fact, they can turn into "the reason you're not happy".

He elaborated: "You can have so much stuff that it makes you miserable. That was my first pull-back and I was like, 'OK, what am I missing?' I was driving the people around me in a way that I was leaving scorched earth around me."

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