Will Smith Predicted Losing His Career During Ayahuasca Hallucination Before Oscars Slap
By Paige Gawley
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Will Smith feared for his career well before his now-infamous Oscars slap. The 53-year-old actor sat down for an interview with David Letterman on Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, and recalled worrying about losing his career and fortune while tripping on ayahuasca, a psychoactive herbal drink with hallucinogenic properties.
During the episode, which was filmed months before Smith slapped Chris Rock on the Oscars stage for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith's, hair, Smith admitted he was initially "terrified" to drink ayahuasca, but eventually "decided it was something that I wanted to try."
Of the effects of the drink, Smith described, "You're not hallucinating. It's like both realities are 100 percent present. So you know you're in this room. You're sitting in the room. You don't lose sight. It's not, like, superimposed on this reality. It's totally separate."
After consuming the drink, Smith said he had "the individual most hellish psychological experience of my whole life."
"I'm drinking, I'm sitting there, and then, all of the sudden, it's like I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away, and my career is gone away. I'm like, 'Ugh!'" Smith recalled. "And I'm trying to grab for my money and my career. My whole life is getting destroyed. My fear. I'm in there and I'm wanting to vomit and all of that. I hear a voice saying, 'This is what the f**k it is. This is what the f**k life is.' I'm [panting], going, 'Oh, s**t!'"
The vision of sorts took a turn when he heard his daughter, 21-year-old Willow, yelling, "Daddy, help me! Daddy! How come you won't help me?"
"I'm like, 'I don't see you, baby.' The shaman is like, 'Relax, relax, relax.' And she tells me, 'Sit up,'" Smith remembered. "Then slowly I stopped caring about my money, I just wanted to get to Willow."
As Smith was able to calm himself down, he said, "I stopped caring about my house. I stopped caring about my career. I get to the point where I settled down, and the voice is still at 100 percent, I still hear Willow screaming, my money is still flying away, but I'm [taking deep breaths] and I'm totally calm, even though there's hell going on in my mind."
When his trip ended, Smith said it left him with an important realization.
"I realized that anything that happens in my life, I can handle it. I can handle any person I lose. I can handle anything that goes wrong in my life. I can handle anything in my marriage. I can handle anything that this life has to offer me," he said. "That's part of the psychological training that happens in ayahuasca. First of all, 99 percent of the s**t you worry about never happens. Ninety-nine percent of your pain and your misery is all self-generated. It's not real."
After his Oscars slap, Smith won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard. He apologized to the Academy and his peers in his acceptance speech and later issued an apology to Rock directly.
The Academy went on to ban Smith from attending any events, in person or virtually, for the next 10 years, a decision Smith told ET, he does "accept and respect."
Earlier this month, a source told ET that Smith "has been going to therapy after the Oscars incident."