Your Number Story


Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris talk ACEs.


Will Smith shares about childhood adversity

Will Smith having a discussion with NPR on how childhood trauma shapes our lives.

It can be hard to imagine superstars like Will Smith struggling with childhood adversity. But they do. 

In this NPR interview (and in his new book, Will), Will Smith talks candidly about how a traumatic moment in his childhood – witnessing his father beat his mother when he was nine years old – has impacted and shaped his life.

Navigating the lasting effects of childhood adversity can be complex ... especially when no one in the family talks about it.

The Difficulties of Navigating Childhood Adversities

Navigating the lasting effects of childhood adversity can be complex. As Will says, the fact that his father could be loving and caring and someone who lashes out in anger was part of what was so difficult to reconcile as a child. Especially when no one in his family talked about it.

When Will’s father passed in 2016, he felt free to have conversations and explore feelings that he didn’t feel comfortable exposing when his dad was alive. Piecing together the many threads of his story is what led to his memoir,


Listen to the full interview to hear more about how exploring his story helped Will, his family – and now, all those he’s sharing with – to heal. 

For more on Will’s journey, tune into this 6-part docuseries that Will did for YouTube Originals while finishing his memoir.

To learn more about how our childhood experiences can shape us, click here for the science behind adverse childhood experiences.

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