Few people were tougher on Kevin Hart after his 2017 cheating scandal than his daughter, Heaven, who is now 16.
“It’s very hard to bother me, but when your child shows disappointment, shows emotion, shows ‘I don’t understand why,’ and you’ve gotta have those conversations, well, now the head drops for the first time,” Hart told guest host Will Smith on the Father’s Day edition of Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk. “And now you’ve realized that there’s a different emotional chord that can be pulled on you that nobody else has the privilege of ever touching. And my daughter touched on that chord, man, you know, when me and my wife went through what we went through, and the whole cheating display, I talked with Heaven. Goddamn. Goddamn, that was one like no other. Getting my daughter back. Getting my daughter to understand that I was sorry, that I made a mistake. … That was real.”
In September 2017, Hart publicly apologized for having had an extramarital affair while his wife, Eniko Parrish, was pregnant with their son, Kenzo. The other woman involved had attempted to blackmail Hart.
Hart shares Heaven and his 14-year-old son, Hendrix, with his ex-wife, Torrei Hart. He married Parrish in 2016, and they’ve since welcomed 3-year-old son Kenzo and daughter Kaori, 8 months.
“My daughter was tough on me. Until this day, until this day my daughter is tough on me,” Hart said of Heaven. “My daughter don’t play no games with her father, man.”
Although Smith pointed out that he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith have long found it helpful to tell their kids, 20-year-old daughter Willow and 22-year-old son Jaden, everything, Hart said his missteps — such as when he stepped down as Oscars host following the revelation of controversial tweets — have always been in the headlines before he’s broken the news.
“I’ve never been able to get to the kids first,” said the star of new Netflix dramedy Fatherhood. “You know, when the whole thing started to happen with the LGBTQ+ community, and the misconception of me, what I was and what I am and what I feel, you know, my daughter was so upset, ’cause she couldn’t process how people could think this about her father. And it was so tough, because this is when I started to realize how my fame has an impact on my household.”
Both men said their own fathers were poor examples for them, although Hart explained that his father is now a good grandfather.
He and Smith both agreed that, early on, they became focused on finding success in their careers. They learned to set aside feelings … until they had kids.
“I literally had to learn how to care about how people feel. And I messed it up with Trey,” Smith said of his adult son with ex-wife Sheree Zampino. “And I messed it up with Jaden, and Willow was the one. Willow was the one of my kids that got me.”
Hart said he also didn’t get parenting right immediately.
“I was lucky enough to get it wrong at the youngest of the youngest age and miss some stuff. And now I still miss stuff, but I try to … I make up for it by being around for a lot of stuff, and I make everyone aware that dad’s making you a priority.”
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