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Will Smith saw his career destroyed during ayahuasca trip

"I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away and my career is going away"

By Joe Goggins

WIll Smith with Jada Pinkett-Smith at the 2022 Academy Awards
The fallout from Smith's Oscars slap shows little sign of abating. (Photo: Doug Peters/Alamy)

Will Smith has revealed that he saw his career collapse during an ayahuasca trip in a new interview with David Letterman.

The sit-down with the legendary talk show host, which comes as part of the latter’s new season of his Netflix series, ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’, was recorded before Smith infamously assaulted comedian Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Academy Awards, a moment that has left his reputation in tatters and poses an existential threat to his acting career.

His comments take on a new resonance in the aftermath of his March slap. Discussing his myriad experiences with the powerful hallucinogen, Smith said: “Once you drink it you’re going to see yourself in a way you’ve never seen yourself. One of the experiences was the individual most hellish psychological experience of my life. I drank, and it usually takes about 45 minutes to kick in. And I’m sitting there and you always feel like, ‘Maybe it won’t kick in this time.’”

“So I’m drinking and sitting there,” Smith went on, “and then all of a sudden it’s like I start seeing all of my money flying away, and my house is flying away and my career is going away.” He won the Academy Award for Best Actor, a prize he had long coveted, for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis icons Venus and Serena, in ‘King Richard’, but his win was dramatically overshadowed by his run-in with Rock.

Per his comments in the Letterman sit-down, though, his psychoactive excursions strengthened his mental resolve. “When I came out of it, I realised 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.”

Smith resigned from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences in the wake of the slap, having initially appeared unrepentant in a rambling acceptance speech. He has since been hit with a ten-year ban from the awards. Letterman’s new series looks set to lift the lid on the inner lives of a host of major stars; in a separate episode, Billie Eilish has discussed her previously unrevealed battle with Tourette’s syndrome.