Why Did Will Smith Jump Out of a Helicopter?

Will Smith

Actor Will Smith‘s latest stunt looked like it had all the makings of a Hollywood movie. But rather than trying this stunt for a film, Smith had personal reasons for leaping out of a helicopter.

In celebration of turning 50 years-old, Smith bungee jumped over the Grand Canyon, The Today Show reports. This was no ordinary bungee jump but one that Smith streamed live as part of his YouTube special: Will Smith: The Jump. During the live stream, Smith takes viewers into his anticipation (and trepidation) prior to the jump as the chopper revs up and he’s given last minute words of encouragement.

Once airborne, the crew asks Smith if he was having fun yet, to which he responded: “Not yet, not yet.” He’s given specific instructions and then he is airborne, only tethered to a rope connected to the chopper. Smith blissfully dangles from the rope, filled with exhilaration and relief.

Considered to be an extreme sport, “helibungeeing” over the Grand Canyon has to be the most extreme of the extreme. So why did Smith do it and what did his family think?

The jump is part of his Bucket List

The star hosts a bucket list series that features both thrilling and fun adventures endeavors. For instance, one bucket list item was to learn salsa dancing from musician, Marc Anthony, People reports. The dance lessons marked his 100th post on Instagram too.

He also faced one of his biggest fears on his bucket list, which was the ocean. He considered the sea to be beautiful, but will “tear you to shreds.” To face his fear, Smith went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, which is known for its shark population.

As part of the list, Smith decided to bungee jump out of a helicopter, which marked his 50th birthday.

Smith’s family came to support him

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith| HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images

The entire Smith family was present for the bungee jump. Smith posted an Instagram photo prior to the jump, which stated, “My Squad holding me down for my big 5-0. We’re gonna start live streaming on my YouTube soon.”

Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith included a video of her husband’s jump on Instagram and wrote, “Congrats @willsmith! You did it! But no more! @shereezampino almost had a Heart Attack!” Smith’s son, Jaden posted an image of Smith during his Fresh Prince of Bel Aire days and simply stated, “Happy Birthday Dad I Love You Man.” Smiths’ daughter Willow simply marveled at the Grand Canyon’s beauty with an image of the jump site and, “<Water> did this.”

The jump was intense

The helicopter jump was estimated to be about 1,000 feet down into the Grand Canyon, according to The Today Show. And Smith mused about his relationship with this great wonder. “I’ve had an interesting relationship with fear my whole life,” The Today Show reports. “We drove to the Grand Canyon (when I was younger), and I remember having a deeply meaningful experience of how beautiful it was, but I was terrified of walking to the edge.”

He also raised money when he jumped

Always a charitable person, Smith used his birthday jump for the greater good. YouTube group, Yes Theory challenged Smith in March to helibungee. He finally met that challenge on his birthday and used the opportunity to raise money and awareness for Global Citizen’s education campaigns, according to USA Today.

Additionally, the jump also raised money for the global fund, Education Cannot Wait. The fund is a campaign that provides education to children in crisis-affected areas, The Today Show reports.

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