Kevin Hart had a difficult childhood, but if he could do it all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I wouldn’t change it one bit,” he says on The Howard Stern Show Tuesday.
His father was a serious drug addict: “heroin, coke, crack, you name it, he did it,” Hart says, “nothing else mattered [to him].” During one of his childhood birthdays, Hart says his dad even stole $20 someone had given him as a present.
Yet he insists he isn’t one of those of comedians who uses humor to cope with depression. “I’m a happy guy,” Hart says. “You can find a positive in every negative, or you can treat every negative with a negative response.”
For instance, he explains, “If my dad hadn’t been around and didn’t do drugs, I may be handling my success differently. I may be on drugs, I may be searching for something.”
Hart also uses his experiences with his dad to remind him how to be a better parent to his children. “The way I look at it now, I’m such a great father because I don t want to make the mistakes that my dad made,” he says.
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Besides his own positive attitude, Hart credits his mom with helping the family survive his dad’s addiction. “The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was strong,” he explains. “It may have affected my mom, but my mom was such a strong woman she said, ‘Look, regardless of whatever your father’s doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you, you’re going do what you’re supposed to do and you’re going to grow up to be two intelligent men, me and my brother.”
For his mom, a computer analyst at the University of Pennsylvania, “school was of the upmost importance” for her two children. And growing up in a bad neighborhood, Hart says his mother “kept us off the streets.”
His older brother also functioned as a father figure in his early life, and eventually led the effort to get their dad off drugs. “As a team we said, look we can get dad straight,” Hart says.
The recovery began when Hart and his brother put their dad into rehab, where “he met an amazing woman who turned his life around and helped him stay clean and right now he’s all about clean living.
“My dad’s fine now,” Hart tells Stern. “I never lost touch, that’s my dad. I don’t give a s— about his mistakes.”
Asked if he’s positive there’s no hard feelings about his dad’s past transgressions, Hart says, “I don t understand people who hold grudges. Do you know how much time and energy it takes to hold a grudge?”