Will Smith, 48, lives with his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, in LA. They have two children, and he has a grown-up son with his first wife, Sheree Fletche. We spoke to him about his new film, Collateral Beauty and his biggest loves and hates.
What can we expect from Collateral Beauty?
It’s a little bit It’s a Wonderful Life and a little bit The Wizard of Oz, and it’s the process of my character, Howard, putting his life back together. It’s like a small-movie superhero cast too. I loved being pushed every day and watching how other people work. I mean… Helen Mirren [who co-stars in the film] is ridiculous.
As well as acting and producing, you’re busy with family life. How do you manage it?
There is nothing harder you will ever do than parent a 15-year-old girl. When I talk to other parents, they say, “Oh, man, you got a teenager? I am sorry. Really sorry to hear that.” I realise I’ve had it easy up until now.
You’ve been married to Jada for 19 years – what’s the secret?
I’ve done a lot of marriage counselling. When you do that, the truth comes out. You sit across from your wife and you’ve said all of your truth and she has said all of her truth. You look at each other and you can’t imagine you could ever possibly love each other again. It creates a dark moment. But for me it’s the dark before the dawn.
How do you feel about being a sex symbol?
When I think sexy, I look at Denzel [Washington] – now that’s a sexy man! I never thought of myself in that way, so it’s fun. I was a late bloomer, but around 26 or 27 years old, I began to fill out a little bit. I’ve always been skinny, but I grew into my ears, I guess you could say.
My home: People might be surprised at how simple it is. There’s a piano with a mic and a recorder to capture things in the second.
Chess: My father taught me to play when I was seven. The key is the ability to assess your position, which I think is also the key to life.
Books: There’s no problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about in a book. My favourite is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Working out: I used to be able to eat what I liked and then take six weeks to get into any shape I wanted. Now it takes 12 to 14 weeks to train to do anything. But I love it – I enjoy the discipline of it.
Mice: I’m brave for my kids and strong, but if there’s a mouse, Jada’s got to deal with it! Even now I’m getting nervous thinking about it.
Decluttering: I don’t clean up stuff. I’m always trying to create something, and I need my creative state to be cluttered.
Swimming: There aren’t a lot of pools where I grew up. I never learned to swim, and I’m embarrassed about it. Now I get in the water as long as my feet can touch the bottom.
Material possessions: I get joy from creating something that makes someone else’s life brighter or better. I’m past cars and jewellery – I don’t even wear a watch!
Collateral Beauty is released in cinemas on 26 December.