Will Smith Gets Candid About His Biggest Regrets as a Dad: 'My Heart Shattered'

Will Smith's powerful memoir Will is exclusively excerpted in this week's issue of PEOPLE

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Will Smith with his family. Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage

Will Smith wants to share the man — and the father — behind his celebrity persona in his candid new memoir, Will.

In this week's issue, PEOPLE has an exclusive excerpt from the book, out Nov. 9, that details some of the actor's hardest moments as a dad. Smith, 53, writes that he was devastated for his son Jaden, then 15, when their 2013 film After Earth was attacked by the press.

"After Earth was an abysmal box office and critical failure," the actor and singer writes. "And what was worse was that Jaden took the hit. Fans and the press were absolutely vicious; they said and printed things about Jaden that I refuse to repeat. Jaden had faithfully done everything that I'd instructed him to do, and I had coached him into the worst public mauling he'd ever experienced."

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Smith was heartbroken when Jaden later asked about being emancipated.

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"We never discussed it, but I know he felt betrayed. He felt misled, and he lost his trust in my leadership," Smith continues. "At fifteen years old, when Jaden asked about being an emancipated minor, my heart shattered. He ultimately decided against it, but it sucks to feel like you've hurt your kids."

The star details some of his biggest joys and regrets as a dad to Jaden, now 23, daughter Willow, 21, and son Trey, 29, in Will. It's an unflinching look at his turbulent childhood, his first marriage to Trey's mom Sheree Zampino, 53, and his more than two-decade romance with his wife and the mother of his younger children, Jada Pinkett Smith, 50.

In Will, Smith writes that he learned another hard parenting lesson after Willow released her hit song "Whip My Hair" in 2010. She secured a month-long tour opening for Justin Bieber, but began to have second thoughts.

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The Smith family. David Livingston/Getty Images

On the final night of her European tour, Willow told her dad she wanted to stop. He explained that she had upcoming tour dates in Australia and must continue. Willow decided to take drastic measures.

"Willow came skipping into the kitchen for breakfast. 'Good morning, Daddy,' Willow said joyfully, as she bounced to the refrigerator," Smith writes in Will. "My jaw nearly dislocated, dislodged, and shattered on the kitchen floor: My world-dominating, hair-whipping, future global superstar was totally bald. During the night, Willow had shaved her entire head.

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"My mind raced and scrambled — how was she going to whip her hair if she didn't have any? Who the hell wants to pay to watch some kid whip their head back and forth?" he continues. "But before I could respond, I felt something slowly turning, shifting, until it clicked into place: In a moment of divine connection and revelation, she had reached me. I leaned down, peered deeply into her eyes, and said, 'I got it. I am so sorry. I see you.' "

Will hits bookstores on Nov. 9.

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