I'm Starting to Get Why Will Smith Is the Way He Is, and Here's Why I Think It Matters

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Will Smith hitting Chris Rock didn’t make sense and I think that’s part of the reason it became such a hot topic for so long. I, like many other millennials, grew up watching Smith be the loveable, joyful, fun personality that could go from the cool goofball on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to the heroic fighter pilot in Independence Day.


Even his colleagues seemed surprised by it. Everyone at the Oscars thought the slap was a bit until Smith started screaming at Rock.

In the blink of an eye, people that had loved Smith began turning their back on him including myself. The man was an icon. He was someone you wanted to emulate in many ways and the slap was completely uncharacteristic of him. It’s like he had turned his back on himself and as a result, we turned our back on him too.

But it took exactly zero minutes for people to begin speculating as to why he was behaving like he was. Lurking behind Smith was Jada Pinkett Smith, his wife. While Will was laughing at Rock’s joke, Jada was not, and that immediately made Mr. Smith get aggressive. It was odd, and it made Smith look weak despite being a physical aggressor. He was clearly under the full control of his wife.

The focus cleanly shifted from Will to Jada and her behavior. It was clear that she was abusive, admitting to cuckolding her husband on a major platform, has been shown to be verbally and emotionally antagonistic, and now her latest Red Table Talk has pretty much sealed the deal, at least for me.

It would appear that Jada is using Will Smith’s slap as a way to promote her Red Table Talk show, first with this tweet effectively saying that her family is going through “deep healing” but when they’re ready to talk about it it’ll be done on the show.


Looking back on the way that Smith conducted himself around his children, he always seemed highly supportive and as involved as a parent could be. He was always highly complimentary of his wife. Sure, it could have all been an act, but fakery of that magnitude doesn’t seem to fit with Smith’s personality.

It does with Jada.

Let me be very clear here. I still think Smith should 100 percent face the consequences of his actions for assaulting Rock, but I’m beginning to understand him better. Smith, like many more before him, became a bully because he’s bullied at home. He was in love with a woman who clearly doesn’t love him back, and it seems his actions were a most desperate attempt to win her over. It’s an attempt that will only serve to give Jada more ammo for herself to use against him and promote her own endeavors with rumors of a divorce from insiders to boot.

Relationships are never clean. They’re complicated, filled with ups and downs, and loving moments are about as guaranteed as resentments. A couple that cares about one another will work to elevate the good in each other and forgive hurts. They learn to live as individual people who are one being. When one person is trying to do this and the other has no interest, and what’s more, is abusive, antagonistic, and malicious toward the person who loves them, then the person in love can be absolutely destroyed.


Smith is clearly a destroyed man.

It’s sad that in our society today, there’s not a lot of sympathy for someone like Smith. Men typically don’t get the emotional support that women do when in abusive relationships. That’s not to say things aren’t getting better, but they could be much better and should be much better.

The numbers of abused men in this country are higher than you think. The CDC reported back in 2014 that 48 percent of men experienced psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of their partners. That number might be off since men typically don’t often admit to abuse in their relationships. The reasons many keep it to themselves range from fear that doing so would lead to a divorce and losing the children to not being believed, or even named the aggressor. Women are more often believed to be innocent right off the bat without evidence, and even after evidence is presented, many men are still looked at with suspicion.

The Smiths are an example of a destabilized family but the more evidence I see the more I’m beginning to think the reason is that one of the legs on “the table” is wobbly and failing to give support where it’s needed. Jada’s behavior has been shown to be malicious and self-centered. She clearly resents her husband who has only shown to be supportive and loving.


I think this example is a good one on how we as a society might be getting relationship dynamics very wrong.


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