Jada Pinkett Smith Once Struggled To Be Vulnerable Around Willow: ‘Her Tears Were So Offensive To Me'”
These days, Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith have a great mother-daughter dynamic. But back in their day, the pair struggled to connect on an emotional level, which ultimately put a strain on their relationship.
Pinkett Smith wasn’t the most emotionally available to her daughter in the past
In November 2019, Pinkett Smith had a raw conversation with Demi Moore and daughters Rumer and Tallulah Willis on Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk that led to a breakthrough moment for her and her own daughter, Willow Smith.
In the episode, the women had a discussion about vulnerability after Moore shared that she once hid that side of herself from her daughters. This prompted Smith to reveal that she wasn’t there emotionally for her daughter and even admitted to ignoring Willow’s tears when she was a child.
“Back in the day, if I would be crying or have an upset, the energy was always like, ‘Take that somewhere else and deal with it on your own,'” Willow explained.
“That’s how I was treating myself. I didn’t want to be with my own feelings. There’s this wall, this armor, and I was thinking about how it does a disservice to everybody we love, including ourselves.” Jada said, adding that it took her a long time to get to a place where she felt comfortable crying in front of her daughter.
“I want to just take a moment and say to you, I’m sorry,” the actor said as her eyes watered. “The way we grew up, the way my mother grew up, you feel like you have to be strong and the first thing you want to do is teach your girls how to be strong… There was a time when her tears were so offensive to me, so offensive. I was like, ‘Take that over there, we can’t afford that here.’ Not realizing, ‘B*tch, you can afford that here. You’re not in Baltimore anymore, OK? You absolutely can afford it here.'”
Seeing Willow breakdown emotionally opened Smith’s eyes to her mistakes
While Jada said she had to “confront” how she treated her daughter in the past, one moment, in particular, made her realize she made a mistake not being there emotionally for Willow in the past.
“Willow had a moment not too long ago, when you had that upset and you were crying on the couch and I just came to you and held you and I said to myself, ‘I wish I had done this more to her,'” she said. “When you can just hold your little girl, have her tears, have her pain.”
After that, Pinkett-Smith realized that she doesn’t have to hide her vulnerability and can now “nurture” her daughter by being there for her physically, mentally, and emotionally.