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Will Smith on the 'Most Painful Failure' of his Career

Veteran actor Will Smith is no stranger to success, with popular films like Hitch, and the Men in Black franchise to his credit. But in an interview with Variety, he opened up a bit about the other side of his story—failure. The prompt was a discussion of After Earth, the M. Night Shyamalan directed flop that co-starred Smith and his son.

But Smith went on to tell the interviewer about what that failure created in him. "When I was 15, my girlfriend cheated on me," Smith confessed, "and I decided that if I was number one, no woman would ever cheat on me. All I have to do is make sure that no one's ever better than me, and I'll have the love that my heart yearns for. And I never released that and moved into a mature way of looking at the world and my artistry and love until the failure of After Earth"

After a 90-minute treadmill session immediately following the news, Smith had an epiphany. "That Monday started the new phase of my life, a new concept: Only love is going to fill that hole," Smith said. "You can't win enough, you can't have enough money, you can't succeed enough. There is not enough. The only thing that will ever satiate that existential thirst is love. And I just remember that day I made the shift from wanting to be a winner to wanting to have the most powerful, deep, and beautiful relationships I could possibly have."


Lisa Schulz, “Will Smith Calls ‘After Earth’ the ‘Most Painful Failure’ of His Career,” Variety (2-12-15)

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