Viola Davis says Will Smith opened her eyes to her childhood trauma in new memoir Finding Me

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Viola Davis says Will Smith helped her confront her childhood trauma.

The actress explained how an on-set conversation with her co-star from the 2016 movie Suicide Squad gave her a fresh perspective on issues she had been dealing with for decades.

In an excerpt from her new memoir Finding Me – which was shared by USA Today – she revealed how he asked her who she really was and past trauma helped shape her.

Working through issues: Viola Davis says Will Smith helped her confront her childhood trauma (pictured 2022)

Smith asked: ‘Viola, who are you?’

She wrote that he continued: ‘Look, I’m always going to be that 15-year-old boy whose girlfriend broke up with him. That’s always going to be me. So, who are you?’

Viola wrote: ‘There I was, a working actress with steady gigs, Broadway credits, multiple industry awards, and a reputation of bringing professionalism and excellence to any project. Hell, Oprah knew who I was.

‘Yet, sitting there conversing with Will Smith, I was still that little, terrified, third-grade Black girl.’

On-set chat: The Suicide Squad actress explained how an on-set conversation with Smith gave her a fresh perspective on issues she'd been dealing with for decades (pictured 2016)

On-set chat: The Suicide Squad actress explained how an on-set conversation with Smith gave her a fresh perspective on issues she’d been dealing with for decades (pictured 2016)

A big question: In an excerpt from her new memoir Finding Me - which was shared by USA Today - she revealed how he asked: 'Viola, who are you?' (pictured 2016)

A big question: In an excerpt from her new memoir Finding Me – which was shared by USA Today – she revealed how he asked: ‘Viola, who are you?’ (pictured 2016)

Thinking nothing of it: Viola wrote: 'There I was, a working actress with steady gigs, Broadway credits, multiple industry awards, and a reputation of bringing professionalism and excellence to any project. Hell, Oprah knew who I was

Thinking nothing of it: Viola wrote: ‘There I was, a working actress with steady gigs, Broadway credits, multiple industry awards, and a reputation of bringing professionalism and excellence to any project. Hell, Oprah knew who I was

But actually...: She continued: 'Yet, sitting there conversing with Will Smith, I was still that little, terrified, third-grade Black girl'

But actually…: She continued: ‘Yet, sitting there conversing with Will Smith, I was still that little, terrified, third-grade Black girl’

Smith, 53, has had to do quite a bit of soul searching in the last month after slapping Chris Rock onstage during the Academy Awards. 

Rock made a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada, cracking wise about her close-shaved head. Jada suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. 

After the now infamous moment, Smith was banned from the award ceremony for a decade. He’s reportedly on a spiritual retreat in India. 

Now infamous moment: Smith, 53, has had to do quite a bit of soul searching in the last month after slapping Chris Rock onstage during the Academy Awards

Now infamous moment: Smith, 53, has had to do quite a bit of soul searching in the last month after slapping Chris Rock onstage during the Academy Awards

Hitting back at critic: The 56-year-old actress recently insisted critics 'serve no purpose' as she responded to negative feedback about her portrayal of Michelle Obama in The First Lady

Hitting back at critic: The 56-year-old actress recently insisted critics ‘serve no purpose’ as she responded to negative feedback about her portrayal of Michelle Obama in The First Lady

Not new information: Davis said of critics, ''They always feel like they're telling you something that you don't know. Somehow that you're living a life that you're surrounded by people who lie

Not new information: Davis said of critics, ”They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know. Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie

Meanwhile, the 56-year-old actress recently insisted critics ‘serve no purpose’ as she responded to negative feedback about her portrayal of Michelle Obama in The First Lady.

She said: ‘Critics absolutely serve no purpose. And I’m not saying that to be nasty, either.

‘They always feel like they’re telling you something that you don’t know. Somehow that you’re living a life that you’re surrounded by people who lie to you and “I’m going to be the person that leans in and tells you the truth.” So it gives them an opportunity to be cruel to you.’

Viola suggested she’s in a no-win situation playing the former First Lady, while the Oscar-winning actress also sees criticism as an occupational hazard.

No win: Viola suggested she's in a no-win situation playing the former First Lady, while the Oscar-winning actress also sees criticism as an occupational hazard

No win: Viola suggested she’s in a no-win situation playing the former First Lady, while the Oscar-winning actress also sees criticism as an occupational hazard

She added: ‘How do you move on from the hurt, from failure? But you have to. Not everything is going to be an awards-worthy performance.’

Earlier this month, Viola revealed she found playing Obama to be ‘absolutely terrifying.’

She shared: ‘You’re terrified whenever you start a job because you are afraid you are going to be found out – that’s big imposter syndrome. But with Michelle Obama, it’s like everyone has ownership over Michelle Obama.

‘I mean, her book came out and it was [on every] bestseller list, everyone knows what she looks like what she sounds like, what her hair [is like], you know?’

Super scared: Earlier this month, Viola revealed she found playing Obama to be 'absolutely terrifying' (pictured 2021)

Super scared: Earlier this month, Viola revealed she found playing Obama to be ‘absolutely terrifying’ (pictured 2021)



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