Willow made the revelation during an episode of Facebook Watch's Red Table Talk

By Elizabeth Leonard
June 27, 2019 08:30 AM

Like most teenagers, Willow Smith has faced her share of rough patches over the years. When she was 10, she struggled with the sudden fame and overwhelming expectations that came after her 2010 pop single “Whip My Hair” became a hit.

“I was super young, and I had a dream, but all I really wanted to do was sing and I didn’t equate that with all the business and the stress that ended up coming with it,” Willow, now 18, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story, in which she, mom Jada Pinkett Smith, 47, and grandmother Adrienne, 65, the stars of Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk, discuss their family’s unbreakable bond.

“I was just like, ‘Whoa, this is not the life that I want’.”

By 2012, Willow shaved her head – “It was the perfect way to rebel,” she says — and felt more liberated.

For more about Willow Smith, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on stands Friday.

RELATED: Jada Pinkett Smith on Finding ‘a Beautiful Place’ with Will After Tough Times: I Was ‘Depleted’

Willow Smith
Sophy Holland
Sophy Holland

But by her early teens, Willow began engaging in self-harm. Cutting, she says now, provided “a physical release of all the intangible pain that’s happening in your heart and in your mind.”

As she read about both science and spirituality, however, she says, “I was like, ‘This is pointless — my body is a temple,’ and I completely stopped. It seemed literally psychotic after a certain point because I had learned to see myself as worthy.”

Jada didn’t know about the cutting until Willow talked about it on Red Table Talk. She says she was “shocked” but “so proud of her in that moment.”

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris streaming now on PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

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