Kevin Hart Opens Up About Forgiving His Ex Drug Addict Dad—and Learning From His Mistakes
Night School star Kevin Hart says despite his dad's absence from his childhood due to drug addiction, he still loves and provides for him today
Kevin Hart knows a thing or two about forgiveness.
The Night School star — who opened up to PEOPLE in this week’s issue about the struggles of fame and how wife Eniko forgave him following last year’s cheating scandal—shared how he found a way to forgive his own father.
“No matter what, he’s my father,” says Hart, 39, of Henry Witherspoon, who he wrote extensively about in his 2017 memoir I Can’t Make This Up. According to Hart, Witherspoon often times wasn’t around due to his crippling drug addiction and multiple jail stints. When he was around, Hart wrote that those memories were more chaotic than happy.
Still, Hart says now, “Regardless of my upbringing and the way I was raised and how often he was in my life, he’s my dad…I have a positive outlook on life regardless and I’m going to love you because you’re my father.”
Witherspoon is now sober and his son holds no ill-feelings towards him. “I understand that nobody’s perfect, people are flawed, people make mistakes,” says Hart. “I shouldn’t hold a high level of judgement over your head about things I can’t change.”
He adds, “You can’t go back in the past and fix this or fix that. I can only move forward, and I can only love you today.”
Today, Witherspoon is soaking up as much quality time as he can, thanks to Hart. “I’m in a position where I’m blessed and I can provide,” says the star. “I can say, ‘Here, dad, here’s a home, here’s a car, here’s some money. Go spend time with your grandkids. Be the best grandpop…the days that you missed with me are the days that we missed, it’s fine. I’m okay with that.'”
And though Hart says he gets most of his qualities from his mom Nancy, who died of cancer in 2007 (“I’m 100 percent her child”), he admits he learned something important from his dad.
“I took the mistakes that I feel that my dad may have made and instead of complaining about them, I use them to my advantage. I know what I should do, and the things that I don’t want my kids to ever feel…And the most important thing that you can give your kids is time.”
Night School, starring Hart and Tiffany Haddish, hits theaters nationwide Friday.
For more on Kevin Hart’s road to fame, family and forgiveness, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.