Why Jada Pinkett-Smith Once Said Daughter Willow Smith Didn’t Know Her As A Person

Jada Pinkett Smith’s relationship with her daughter Willow Smith has come a long way. Though they have a great mother-daughter dynamic now, getting to the place they are today took years of work — especially after Willow told her mom that she didn’t “really know” who the actor was.

Willow Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Willow Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith | Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Image

Jada Pinkett Smith had a moment of realization when Willow was 9 years old

Ever since they started hosting Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk together, Willow Smith has been able to see her mom’s true colors front and center. However, growing up, the “Whip My Hair” singer rarely saw different sides to her mom and was even convinced that she didn’t know who Pinkett Smith really was.

During a November 2019 interview with Insider, Pinkett Smith recalled the moment Willow told her, “I don’t really know you” when she was just 9-years-old.

Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith | Donna Ward/Getty Image

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“She was like, ‘I just know you as my mother,'” the actor told the outlet. “And she was right, because there was so much history that I had — before I became a mother — and her grandmother had that she knew nothing about.”

After having that moment of realization, Smith made it her mission to open up more to Willow. “I think from that time on it was a journey towards being able to open myself to her and to myself in a different way,” she said.

After that, Smith gradually worked on her relationship with Willow

While Pinkett Smith said that working on her relationship with her daughter had been a gradual process, she’s made strides in opening up more to Willow.

In fact, during a 2019 episode of Red Table Talk, the mother of two revealed that she had become more emotionally available to her daughter and had reached “a place of vulnerability where I could cry in front of Willow.”

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“There’s this wall, this armor, and I was thinking about how it does a disservice to everybody we love, including ourselves,” Pinkett Smith said before telling Willow, “I want to just take a moment and say to you, I’m sorry.” 

“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,” she continued. “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.'”

Fortunately, the mother-daughter duo was able to overcome that hump after having an intimate encounter.

“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,” Pinkett Smith shared. “When you can just hold your little girl, have her tears, have her pain.”