Will Smith conquers his fear of the ocean by swimming with sharks

"Fear is poison and I’m gonna cleanse mine"

Will Smith has faced up to his biggest fear by swimming with sharks.

The actor, 51, appeared on a TV programme to document his brave attempt at overcoming his long-held phobia of the oceans’ apex predators.

Discovery’s Shark Week aired the special Will Smith: Off the Deep End yesterday (August 11), which shows the film and TV star swim with a tiger shark.

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In the programme, Smith is seen addressing his fears, revealing that he was so terrified of sharks that he didn’t learn to swim until he was in his 40s.

“I blame Steven Spielberg,” Smith says in the programme, referring to the director’s classic film Jaws (1975). “I was literally scared in the bathtub. I literally felt like a shark could come out of the spout.”

But Smith added that he’s become more determined to conquer his fears as he’s got older. “I am a firm believer that fear creates the greatest atrocities and evils that have ever been committed on this planet,” Smith said of the diving challenge.

“Fear is poison and I’m gonna cleanse mine.”

The programme shows Smith complete several dives before swimming with a tiger shark.

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Smith said that the experience fundamentally changed him: “There was Will Smith before the sharks and there is Will Smith after the sharks,” he concluded.

Will Smith
Will Smith. Credit: Getty

In other news, the actor’s breakthrough TV series The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1990-1996), was earlier this week reported to have a reboot in the works off the back off a viral, fan-made video.

A number of streaming services are said to be interested in the reboot, including Netflix and HBO Max, the latter of which currently hosts the original show.

Smith is reported to once again be on board alongside original series producers Quincy Jones and Benny Medina, with the show’s creators Andy and Susan Borowitz also returning as executive producers.

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