Will Smith sat down with author extraordinaire Sista Souljah to help her promote her new book “A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story” at Temple University in Philadelphia this past weekend. The two stars had a candid discussion about relationships and what it takes to make a marriage and family work.

The open dialogue led to a conversation about Will’s kids and the truth behind why Willow is no longer starring in the highly anticipated “Annie” remake. Many speculated that Willow may have become too old for the part and simply outgrown the character but Will said the truth is that his daughter wanted to focus on being a normal 12-year old. The well-known actor also said that he had to learn to be in touch with his kids’ dreams and emotional needs versus the dreams that he may have had for them.

During the talk he revealed: “Willow was supposed to be doing ‘Annie,’ we got Jay-Z to do the movie, got the studio to come in and Willow had such a difficult time on tour with ‘Whip my Hair’ and she said, ‘You know Daddy, I don’t think so’ and I said, ‘Baby, hold up! I said no,no,no, listen, you’ll be in New York with all of your friends and Beyoncé will be there. You will be singing and dancing,’ and she looked at me and said, ‘Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’

I’m really learning through Willow the necessity that we have to snap ourselves back and refocus on the emotional needs of the people that we love. Someone’s emotional needs can be very very different from your dreams and what you think they should be doing and where they are supposed to be.”






Around the Web


  1. The Smith family receives negative and positive comments about their parenting. I happen to like them as a family and love it more that Willow seems to be not only talented but smart enough to say ” You know what I think I want to be a kid while I still have the chance.” I must admit I would have love to see her in Annie, but I am sure she will have plenty opportunities to do movies and music. BTW Willow I like you voice and the fact you aren’t afraid to be you. Blessings to the family.

  2. “Willow had such a difficult time on tour with ‘Whip my Hair’…”
    But those days they said that she loved touring and such… so what’s it?

  3. I want to believe this. Werent contracts signed?
    I am more apt to believe that the studio behind the film didnt like willlow’s bald head bc little girls of the world arent going to believe her as annie so they figured the movie would fail. HW doesnt care about feelings, they care about $$$

  4. Thank goodness Willow spoke out. She could’ve easily went with the flow to appease her parents. Good for Willow, Will and Jada.

  5. Good for you Willow!!….it’s a smart move and I hope she’s having fun just being a kid. Every child whether their a celebrity or not, deserves to have an awesome childhood.

  6. “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12″

    I’m glad she’s getting what she wishes.

    Willow will do something in the future, it’ll just be something that SHE really has a passion for.

  7. I have always and most recently said, that I believe that this is just what would happen if one day she wanted to stop. Two things were very telling 1) After 3yrs no album……most artists HAVE to put out whether they want to or not, even if they themselves not comfy with the material recorded..Willow have no such constraints 2) She is and never will be her family’s breadwinner, so she don;t have to.

    I get what Will was saying though. As parents, when ever our kids express interest in something, we go all out to enroll them, support them and if its something we ourselves are familiar with or involved in, we let our pride over rule us sometimes when the child no longer is interested.

    Will, Jada , Jaden and Willow just go through this on a public forum, where everyone ca criticize and comment

  8. Sigh. Will is such an an empty vessel. (And I thought it was just Jada).

    He’s all: We got the studio, we got Jay-Z, we got Beyonce, we got New York ….

    How does any of this contribute to the educational, emotional, or cultural development of a child?

    It’s all Hollywood crap. That is not the real world. It is only valued by really shallow people. Ugh …

    • But isn’t that exactly what he is saying in the interview? That he was more focused on his dreams for her than her emotional well being so now he has to refocus?

      • Yes, he is. I think it’s great he could admit he was wrong or on the wrong track, but now he has “refocused” and gets the greater purpose of guiding his children to do what THEY want to do and need in life.

  9. I don’t think Will or Jada PUSH THEM DO anything. When they say enough Will and Jada respect it. Y’all don’t remember Trey was in the spotlight way before Willow or Jaden. He stopped too. Now it will be harder for Willow and she is still going To be followed by paps. But I don’t think she is necessarily done. She was just on stage with Jaden at Bieber singing around (so much for she didn’t like touring). But I don’t think she’s done just yet. It seems Will and Jada just try to help the kids reach their dreams as along as they want. Jaden Still loves his movies and rapping. They support him.

    • @Brit : Trey wasnt in the spotlight like Jaden/Willow. He did 1 red carpet for his Dad;s movei premiere and that was it. He was focused on his football. Jaden and Will did movied, songs, remixes with Justin Bieber and dancing @ hsi concerts, BIG DIFFERENCE.

  10. Applause Willow! I changed my mind about you. I’m glad she is actually mature enough to stay out of the spotlight. I know a lot of celebrity kids crave the attention so much, but it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be when you are missing out your childhood. I’m sure Willow realized that.

    • I think that although Willow made a big success for herself at age 9, it was still just too much for her. That opportunity put her in the spotlight at a very young age and she was scrutinized horribly. I think people were throwing more shade at Willow than they were at a lot of adults. That has to be hard for a child. Now, I think Willow is just wanting to get away from all of that. Writing songs like ‘I am Me’ and ‘Sugar and Spice,’ she was artistically letting the world know that she is just a child. People can be very mean, and they have been very hard on this little girl. I wish her the best.

  11. ‘Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’<———-This right here tells me her parents were pushing her & possibly Jaden to do the things they were doing. It also tells me I was right about Willow, she' s one smart young lady.

    • Nooo… What I get from “How about I just be 12″ is she WAS and seemed to be VERY passionate about making music that it excited her dad sooo much because its what HE once did and she was doing great at it, so he began push her in greater directions eagerly then she just said “U know what, I just want to be young & free from this.” I feel like these parents are always made into criminals when they really don’t have to be

    • I think if they were pushing or forcing her then her saying “How about I just be 12″ wouldn’t make any difference to them. I think it’s quite the opposite. We all push our kids but if they are comfortable and confident enough to tell us enough is enough and we pull back and let them be there is no harm in that. In fact that indicates a strong healthy parent/child relationship in my opinion.

Leave a Reply