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'I was, like, cutting myself': Willow Smith shocks mom Jada with self-harm admission

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Jada Pinkett Smith and Willow Smith in 2017. (Photo: Rochelle Brodin/Getty Images for Haute Living)

Willow Smith opened up about a painful time from her childhood — and it’s the first her famous mother heard of it.

Jada Pinkett and Will Smith’s 17-year-old daughter appears on the second episode of the Facebook Watch video series Red Table Talk, which has the topic “Surviving Loss.” Jada, who hosts the Facebook Watch series, asks her daughter about her biggest loss.

“I would have to say — honestly I feel like I lost my sanity at one point,” Willow responds. “It was after that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing, and I had just stopped doing singing lessons, and I was kind of like, just in this gray area of ‘Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything, like, I can do besides this?’”

Willow was only 10 when “Whip My Hair” came out. The video has had over 230 million views on YouTube to date.

“After the tour and the promotion and all of that, they wanted me to finish my album,” she says. “And I was like — I’m not gonna do that. And after all of that kinda settled down and it was like a kind of lull, I was just listening to a lot of dark music, and it was just so crazy and I was just like plunged into this black hole, and I was, like, cutting myself.”

“What?” says a stunned-looking Jada.

“Yeah, and doing crazy things,” Willow says.

“When were you cutting yourself?” Jada asks. “I didn’t see that part.”

Jada’s mother Adrienne — who is also on the show — appears equally  surprised at her granddaughter’s admission. Willow said it was a “long time ago.”

“Cutting yourself where?” Jada asks.

“On my wrist. I mean, you can’t even see it, but there’s still a little something there, but like, I totally lost my sanity for a moment there,” Willow reveals. She says that only one friend knew about the cutting and that her brothers, Jaden, 19, and Trey, 25, were unaware.

“I never talk about it because it was such a short weird point in my life, but you have to pull yourself … out of it,” Willow says. “I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain, but my physical circumstances weren’t reflecting that.”

Although the self-harm made the pain more tangible, she says she just stopped one night. “I was just like ‘This is actually psychotic,’ and after that, I just stopped,” she says. “It’s been, like, five years.”

Both Jada and Adrienne said they were completely unaware of what was going on. “That’s good to freaking know,” Jada says. “Willow, I had no idea … I never saw any signs of that.”

Though this is the first time Willow has publicly spoken about cutting, she has frequently been candid about her struggle with fame.

During an interview with Girlgaze last year, she said growing up in the spotlight was “excruciatingly terrible.”

“Growing up and trying to figure out your life while people feel like they have some sort of entitlement to know what’s going on, is absolutely, excruciatingly terrible,” she said. “The only way to get over it, is to go into it. You can’t change your face. You can’t change your parents. … When you’re born into it, there are two choices that you have; I’m either going to try to go into it completely and help from the inside, or … no one is going to know where I am … and I’m really going to take myself completely out of the eye of society. There’s really no in between.”

Obviously, she went with option one and went into show business.

“I’m going to be completely and utterly honest, it’s absolutely terrible,” she continued. “I feel like most kids like me end up going down a spiral of depression, and the world is sitting there looking at them through their phones; laughing and making jokes and making memes at the crippling effect that this lifestyle has on the psyche.”

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