We watched Will Smith save the world, fight aliens and robots, and even voice a fish, but there’s apparently one thing he isn’t so great at – swimming.
Will Smith confessed that he can’t swim and that he’s embarrassed about it. The Men in Black actor explained that he never mastered this skill because there weren’t many swimming pools in inner City Philadelphia where he grew up.
Not a Swimmer
Will Smith is great at many things, but swimming is not one of them. He discussed his lack of swimming skills during an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, and explained why he never learnt how to do it.
“I can’t swim. In inner City Philadelphia, there’s not a lot of swimming pools and I never actually learnt how to swim and I’m embarrassed about it… [My kids] can swim because it was important to their mother that they learnt how to swim but you can get through life without that,” Smith told Letterman.
The famous talks show hosts roasted the actor for not being able to swim, and compared it to not having a driver’s license. Letterman found the situation even more ridiculous after hearing that Smith has a swimming pool at home, but he tried to save face by saying he’s not scared of the water – as long as his feet can touch the bottom.
Margot Robbie’s Lessons
David Letterman wasn’t the only one who was shocked after learning that Will Smith can’t swim. His Focus co-star Margot Robbie reacted pretty much the same way.
“This was surprising for me because I’m Australian – he doesn’t know how to swim. In Australia, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know how to swim; you just grow up in the water – you learn before you can walk sort of thing,” explained Robbie on The Talk.
The Australian actress felt bad for Smith because he was missing out on diving and many fun water sports, as well. When her mother joined them on set in Argentina, the two women tried to teach him how to swim, but he wasn’t enjoying the experience, and “gone off and apparently learnt from an Olympic swimmer”, according to Robbie.
Robbie and Smith later reunited on the set of Suicide Squad, and she once again tried to convince him to be more adventurous – but with no success. She tattooed several of her co-stars on the set of this movie, but Will Smith was one of the very few who didn’t want to get inked, because he’s “a grown-a— man”.
Diving with Sharks
The fact that Will Smith isn’t a good swimmer is especially hilarious when you remember he voiced one of the characters in Shark Tale. This animated movie was inspired by several gangster classics, and it saw Smith playing scheming fish named Oscar.
This role gave him a chance to swim with sharks – at least in an animated form – but he wanted to do it for real! Back in 2019, he launched a new show Will Smith’s Bucket List on Facebook Watch, and made his wildest dreams come true. One of the episodes of this show saw him confronting his fear of the ocean by diving with sharks.
“I feel that there’s a part of me that has to. I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever dreamed, and the major thing that I’m still seeking is I know there’s more than that. And my fear of the unknown is keeping me from that divine wisdom,” explained Smith.
The actor consulted a team of experts to learn more about sharks and how to act around them. He then traveled to the Bahamas, and dived deep at Tiger Beach – an extremely popular spot where many adventurous divers go to swim with the sharks, just like Smith! It’s safe to assume his swimming skills improved in the meantime, but it’s not necessary to be a great swimmer to dive.