Will Smith Says His ‘Heart Shattered’ and He Felt Son Jaden ‘Lost His Trust in My Leadership’ When He Asked About Becoming an Emancipated Minor at 15 Following Box Office Failure of “After Earth”


Will Smith wants to share the man — and the father — behind his celebrity persona in his candid new memoir, Will.

In this week’s issue, PEOPLE has an exclusive excerpt from the book, out Nov. 9, that details some of the actor’s hardest moments as a dad. Smith, 53, writes that he was devastated for his son Jaden, then 15, when their 2013 film After Earth was attacked by the press.

After Earth was an abysmal box office and critical failure,” the actor and singer writes. “And what was worse was that Jaden took the hit. Fans and the press were absolutely vicious; they said and printed things about Jaden that I refuse to repeat. Jaden had faithfully done everything that I’d instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he’d ever experienced.”

Smith was heartbroken when Jaden later asked about being emancipated.

“We never discussed it, but I know he felt betrayed. He felt misled, and he lost his trust in my leadership,” Smith continues. “At fifteen years old, when Jaden asked about being an emancipated minor, my heart shattered. He ultimately decided against it, but it sucks to feel like you’ve hurt your kids.”

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Janine Rubenstein and Sam Gillette

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