Jada Pinkett Smith Realized She Has 'Some Anxiety' from Seeing Daughter Willow Struggle

As Pinkett Smith tried to help daughter with her anxiety, the actress started to realize that she likely deals with the mental health condition as well.

As Jada Pinkett Smith tried to help daughter Willow with her anxiety, the actress started to realize that she likely deals with the mental health condition too.

Jada, 50, had habits like chewing her nails "down to the cuticles" that she would brush off, not knowing that they were likely signs of anxiety, in part because of the time she grew up.

During the latest episode of Red Table Talk, Jada sat down with Willow, her mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Ireland Baldwin and her mom Kim Basinger to talk about anxiety.

"It took me a long time to understand Willow. I mean, just her anxiety," Jada said of her 21-year-old daughter. "I had a really difficult time relating, because, two things — her lifestyle and how she was brought up very different than mine — I don't know what it's like to be a child under hot lights. And then just, really not knowing how to comfort her, not knowing what help she needed, not understanding the behavior."

The Matrix actress was confused by Willow's anxiety, "even though I used to chew my fingernails down to the cuticles. But they didn't say that that was anxiety. I was a nail biter, that's it."

Willow's struggles forced Jada to examine her own.

"One thing I would say in having to deal with, and learn about her anxiety, I've had to look at some of my own behaviors and the behaviors of my mother, and go, well of course I probably have some anxiety in regards to how I grew up," she said. "It was very difficult, even to this day, in just being there for her in the way that she needs."

Willow said that it seemed like her anxiety would "trigger" her mom, to which Jada agreed.

"You used to just be like, 'No. I can't look at this,' " Willow said, explaining that she would be "on the floor, tears, shaking, confused."

Willow and Jada
Willow Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Willow Smith/Instagram

Banfield-Norris said that she likely had anxiety as well, but couldn't identify it in herself or in Jada because it just wasn't something that people talked about then.

"I think in our world, I almost saw it as a weakness. We just couldn't afford to be anxious," Banfield-Norris said. "I escaped through my drug abuse. Which I think numbed me to whatever was going on with you. I just didn't want to face it, deal with anything in my life."

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"I guess what I'm seeing is this cycle of generational anxiety," Jada said, after listening to Willow and Banfield-Norris talk.

During the episode, Baldwin and Basinger also shared their own mental health struggles, with Baldwin talking about how "ashamed" she felt about her substance abuse and eating disorders. Basinger, meanwhile, shared that she dealt with severe agoraphobia and "wouldn't leave the house."

She's been able to overcome the intense anxiety disorder, but she "had to relearn to drive," and figure out how to rejoin daily life.

"Everything used to make me nervous, like the glass [sliding] to open the door, or, 'Where do I step to open the door?' Everything became a big job to figure out how to do it."

If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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