It wasn’t until Smith and Boehm played out the scenario together that Smith soon came to realise that his fantasy wouldn’t quite match the reality of such a situation. He came to realise that the setup would be “horrific” and cause misery for all involved. But in working through the scenario with his intimacy coach, Smith was able to ditch some of his deeply rooted shame tendencies that stemmed from his strict Christian upbringing.
“What she was doing was essentially cleaning out my mind, letting it now it was okay to be me and be who I was,” Smith told GQ. “It was okay to think Halle is fine. It doesn’t make me a bad person that I’m married and I think Halle is beautiful. Whereas in my mind, in my Christian upbringing, even my thoughts were sins. That was really the process that Michaela worked me through to let me realise that my thoughts were not sins and even acting on an impure thought didn’t make me a piece of shit.”
Smith also opened up in the interview about the impact of witnessing his father’s abuse against his mother, both as a child and as an adult. The violence he saw inspired him to build a defence system that also became the public persona many now identify him with. “I felt like a combination of having completed some phase of my life, and also with my father dying. I just ever would’ve been able to say this stuff about my father beating up my mother,” Smith explained. “I never would’ve been able to talk about that while he was alive.”
In writing about some of the experiences in the book, Smith found catharsis and was able to work through the emotional trauma. You can read more about Smith’s relationship with Jada, as well as the inspiring advice he received from Denzel about the differences between one’s “funky 40s” and “fuck-it 50s” here.