Will Smith Reveals He Hallucinated About His Career Being Destroyed On Ayahuasca Trip Before The Oscars

It's all extremely meta.

Will Smith Kathy Hutchins | Shutterstock

In a newly released interview with David Letterman, Will Smith seemed to fear the end of his career long before the controversial slap at the 2022 Oscars.

In an episode of "My Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman," which was released as part of season four of the Netflix series, Smith spoke about his life and career. 

The episode had been prefaced with a title card that reads: "The episode was recorded prior to the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony."


During the interview, Smith recalled feeling like he was at the top of his career thanks to his many successful films, but it still left him feeling unsatisfied.

"I felt very confident that No. 1 movies were much more of an addiction than they were a fulfilling emotional endeavor," Smith said. "I correlated being the best with being able to have the love in my life that would make me feel safe."

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That feeling led to Smith not having worked for two years. During that time, he traveled to Peru and drank ayahuasca, a plant-based psychedelic, something he was initially "terrified" of doing but eventually "decided it was something that I wanted to try."


Will Smith told David Letterman he had feared his career would end.

"You're not hallucinating. It's like both realities are 100 percent present. So you know you're in this room," Smith described the effects of the drink. "You're sitting in the room. You don't lose sight. It's not, like, superimposed on this reality. It's totally separate."

Smith said he experienced "14 journeys" while on the drug, but one specific incident forced him to confront his fear of losing everything, including his career.

"One of the experiences was the individual most hellish psychological experience of my life," he said.


"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."

"So this is your fear in real life?" Letterman asked.

"My fear," Smith answered. "I'm in there and I'm wanting to vomit and all of that."

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The 'King Richard' actor said his vision started to take a turn when he began hearing his daughter, 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 continued. "Then slowly I stopped caring about my money, I just wanted to get to Willow."

Smith was able to calm himself down, saying, "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 [exhales] and I'm totally calm, even though there's hell going on in my mind."

After his trip ended, Smith said he was left with an important life lesson.

"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."

Following the incident at the 2022 Oscars, The Academy went on to ban the actor from future ceremonies for 10 years, a decision that Smith "accept(s) and respect(s)."

Smith has also reportedly been "going to therapy" following the events at the Oscars, according to Entertainment Tonight. 

RELATED: Will Smith Rumored To Have Checked In To Luxury Rehab Clinic After Slapping Chris Rock At The Oscars

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.