Willow Smith Revealed She Used to Cut Herself & Her Honesty Can Help Spark Much-Needed Conversation

On Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Live talk show, Red Table Talk, Jada’s daughter Willow Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and Jada herself sit down each week to have candid conversations with family and friends. This week’s episode, only the second in the series, was centered around dealing with loss and in it, Willow revealed something heartbreaking to her mother and the audience.

The 17-year-old said she lost her “sanity” during the period of newfound fame, after releasing her first song, “Whip My Hair," in 2010. "I had just stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of just in this gray area of 'Who am I? Do I have a purpose? Is there anything I can do besides this?” Willow said.

With all the craziness surrounding her recent success, and feeling pushed to continue to create more music, Willow felt lost. She explains how she began to feel as though she was being “plunged into a black hole,” and started cutting herself as way to deal with her situation.

"I honestly felt like I was experiencing so much emotional pain but my physical circumstances weren't reflecting that," Willow continued, noting she used cutting as a way to physically touch the pain she was feeling inside.

Even more heartbreaking is the fact that Willow kept everything that she was feeling to herself. Although it was only a short time in her life, Willow only confided in a close friend, not any of her family members. She eventually stopped self-harming, she says, when she realized it was “actually psychotic.”

Sadly, both her mother and grandmother stated that they never saw any signs of Willow harming herself. Although she hasn’t self-harmed in over five years, this moment on the talk-show was the first they had heard of that painful time in Willow’s life.

Unfortunately, Willow’s story is not unique. Many young women suffer from the same feelings of loss and confusion, which can lead to self-harming behaviors. It is not uncommon for the self-destructive behaviors to go unnoticed. Hopefully with Willow’s openness and honesty, a door for more conversation around such a hard topic can be opened for all young people and their families.

If you or someone you know if self-harming, do not hesitate to seek help. You can talk to someone confidentially with the National Crisis Text Line. Just text CONNECT to 741741 to get help.