Will Smith turned 53 this year. In his middle age, the rapper turned actor and action star isn’t trying to hide much. A new GQ profile of Smith in anticipation of his upcoming memoir Will makes that abundantly clear. There’s a good reason the former Fresh Prince calls these his “fuck-it fifties.”
A brief list of Smith‘s revelations in the interview is eye-opening enough.
They include experimenting with ayahuasca, an intense South American hallucinogen some believe has therapeutic benefits, wanting to start a harem with beautiful women including Halle Berry and ballerina Misty Copeland, and the truth about his open marriage to Jada Pinkett Smith.
Smith’s co-author for his book was Mark Manson. The author told GQ that Smith said, “I want this book to show people who I really am.” It sounds like the Bad Boys star meant what he said. A few paragraphs from the GQ profile reveal that just the last 10 years of Smith’s life alone would be good fodder for a movie:
Smith set out on a journey to find himself, and find happiness. He rented a house in Utah and sat in solitude for 14 days. He traveled to Peru for more than a dozen ayahuasca rituals, even though he’d never even smoked weed and barely drank. (“This was my first tiny taste of freedom,” Smith writes of his first experience. “In my fifty plus years on this planet, this is the unparalleled greatest feeling I’ve ever had.”)
He opened a stand-up show for Dave Chappelle. He began traveling without security for the first time, showing up in foreign countries and working his way through the airport crowds unaccompanied. “I totally opened myself up to what, I think, was a fresh sampling of the fruits of the human experience,” Smith told me.
During his first meeting with Michaela Boehm, an intimacy coach he spent years working with, Smith confessed that, if he could have anything in the world, he’d want a harem of girlfriends. “Who?” Boehm demanded, insisting he name specific women he’d want to invite to his harem. Misty Copeland, Smith replied.
And Halle Berry too. For the rest of the session, the two of them researched specific women who could round out his aspirational harem. The plan was to then begin contacting the women.
The idea of a star of Smith’s caliber traveling alone is crazy enough, but the rest is not only wild but kind of inspiring—even though Will Smith is perhaps one of the few men alive who could conceivably put together a harem for real if he truly wanted to.
It turns out that going through this harem-building process with intimacy coach Boehm was enough to prompt Smith to really examine the gap between his fantasies and reality. He realized that maybe reality—not having to support twenty or so women as a partner and caretaker—was better, telling GQ‘s Wesley Lowery that after he began playing things out he realized “‘That would be horrific. That would be horrific.’ I was like, ‘Can you imagine how miserable?’”
Boehm, Smith saw, “was essentially cleaning out my mind, letting it know it was okay to be me and be who I was. It was okay to think Halle is fine. It doesn’t make me a bad person that I’m married and I think Halle is beautiful. Whereas in my mind, in my Christian upbringing, even my thoughts were sins. That was really the process that Michaela worked me through to let me realize that my thoughts were not sins and even acting on an impure thought didn’t make me a piece of shit.”
Regarding his marriage, Smith was remarkably frank. He and Jada Pinkett Smith are not monogamous. “Jada never believed in conventional marriage,” Smith said, indicating she’d “had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up. There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection.”
Smith went on to say he and his wife have provided one another with “trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way.” But, he said, marriage for them “can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody.”
Meaning ‘Don’t try this at home.’ Still, Smith said, he and Pinkett Smith have each others’ “unconditional support,” and to him, that “is the highest definition of love.”
Will Smith’s memoir Will will be available beginning November 9, 2021. His book tour begins—naturally—in Philadelphia on November 8. Learn more at Willthebook.com.