By Mike Miller
Updated December 06, 2016 08:28 AM

For Will Smith, making his new film Collateral Beauty was a difficult case of life imitating art.

“This has been one of the greatest confluences of life and art that I’ve ever experienced,” the actor recently revealed on PEOPLE Now.

In the film, Smith stars as a successful advertising executive forced to deal with the tragic death of his 6-year-old daughter. Just last month, Smith suffered his own heartbreaking personal loss when his dad, Willard Carroll Smith, Jr. died.

“Some of the issues that the character is dealing with are so profoundly perfectly timed for what I was experiencing in my life,” he explained. “It was just a fantastic opportunity to grow as an actor while I was growing as a man.”

Credit: SGranitz/WireImage

Just like his onscreen character, Smith came to appreciate the “collateral beauty” that accompanies pain. “I think more than ever I see — and intellectually I’ve accepted [but] it’s still difficult emotionally — I understand that suffering is how we grow,” he said.

“Even in my life with Jada, like I’m a hopeless romantic, but romance is not love,” he continued. “That’s not what love is. That fluffy, fancy, pretty stuff is actually anti-love. It keeps you away from love. Love is really born of surviving with somebody.”

Check out the video for more with Smith, including his thoughts on the Oscars after last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy.