Willow Smith Discusses The Pressures Her Father Put On Her During Her Early Years Of Fame

Willow Smith says it took her time to forgive her father for mishandling her early debut into the spotlight.

Willow Smith stops to talk to fans.
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Willow Smith says it took her time to forgive her father for mishandling her early debut into the spotlight.

With parents as famous as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, it was inevitable that their children would face pressures to live up to certain expectations. Willow Smith was only 10-years-old when she created a name for herself outside of her family’s shadow. Her hit single “Whip My Hair” blew up when it was first released, gaining her recognition all over the world. She barely had a chance to enjoy her newfound success before she felt the pressure of needing to figure out what she was going to do next. Now 18-years-old, Willow is able to reflect upon that time of her life and says she wishes her parents had handled it differently, according to People.

The Smith family is known for their open-mindedness when it comes to their children, encouraging them to be whoever they want in life. However, Willow says she grew up with certain pressures placed on her because she found success at such an early age. While she felt her family and fans wanted her to finish an album, she wasn’t so sure. Not even yet in her teens, she felt she was being pushed into a career as a singer before she even knew what she wanted to do with her life. Willow opened up about this pressure in an episode of Red Table Talk, a series in which she, her mother, and grandmother speak candidly about a variety of issues from family to fame. “I definitely had to forgive you and daddy for that whole ‘Whip My Hair’ thing. It was mostly daddy because he was so harsh at certain times,” Willow said.

Willow went on to say that she once felt it didn’t matter what her opinions were in terms of her future. “It was a couple of years, honestly. Trying to regain trust for not feeling like I was being listened to or like no one cared how I felt. And I had to forgive myself because I felt guilty because everyone is trying to make me better, trying to make my dream. But I didn’t really understand what my dream entailed,” she said of that time period.

A childhood lived out in the public eye took its toll on Willow, who admitted earlier this year that she once suffered from depression and self-harm. Despite her earlier challenges, the famous teen was able to pull herself out of the darkness and learn to live her life according to her own rules.