Kevin Hart is getting real about his role as a dad — specifically, some things he isn't proud to admit.
In a candid "Red Table Talk” takeover for Father's Day, Will Smith invited longtime friend and comedian Kevin Hart to the table for an intimate conversation where they break down stereotypes about Black fathers and share personal confessions about raising kids.
Hart, who has four children — Heaven, 16, Hendrix, 13, Kenzo, 3, and Kaori, 8 months — detoured from his trademark banter for the intimate one-on-one conversation, in which he addressed the 2017 news that he cheated on his wife, Eniko Parrish, who was pregnant at the time.
"You're never prepared for that side of it," Hart said, recalling telling his children about what he did. "Having a little girl in my life, it's tough. You don't realize the impact that your mistakes can truly have. When the kids get involved, it's a different feeling."
Hart admitted his conversation with oldest daughter, Heaven, was the most difficult.
"My daughter was tough on me, until this day my daughter is tough on me," he said. "Getting my daughter to understand that I was sorry, that I made a mistake — that was real. Through my public debacles, I've got on some armor. It's very hard to bother me. But when your child shows disappointment, shows emotion, shows, 'I don't understand why,' and you've got to have those conversations — (your) head drops for the first time. You realize there's an emotional cord that nobody else has the privileges of ever touching."
While Hart said he's usually not bothered about what people say about him in the press and on social media, he had to make an effort to understand why it's not as easy for Heaven to brush things off.
"My daughter had a talk with me about her mother that rocked me. She checked me," he recalled to Smith. "She said, 'I want you to stop saying because when you say these things, Dad, this and this and this.' 'But honey, I don't mean — I'm just talking.' 'It doesn't matter, Dad.'"
"It's not just talking. ... You unleash dogs on people," Smith added.
"'But honey, I'm just being myself,'" Hart continued. "'Dad, you can't.'"
"(Sheree) would always say I had to be careful how I talked about our marriage and our divorce, and I didn't realize. It really took me years to comprehend. She was like, 'Whatever you say, the world is going to punish me for that, so you are giving people permission to say and do things to me on the street."
Hart also opened up about co-parenting with his ex, Torrei Hart, who's the mother of Heaven and his son Hendrix.
"I am very lucky to have two amazing mothers," Hart said. "Me and my first wife, we've had our ups and downs. But we're in a great space of understanding."
Hart and his ex divorced in 2011 after eight years of marriage. When Smith asked about blended families, the father of four opened up about his past ups and downs.
"You carry out your personal grudges," Hart said. "Your personal grudges, whether you believe it or not, affect your kids. There's an energy. You both have an energy. I've definitely made mistakes by participating in the bad energy. I went through the heavy phase of 'I'm right, you're wrong.' You're stubborn."
The comedian told Smith it felt like there was a cloud surrounding the former couple every time they were near one another, so they worked together to find a healthier post-divorce relationship.
"It was coming to a table, sitting down, having multiple adult conversations, and leaving with an adult result," he said.
Hart admitted it took a concerted effort on his part to recognize Torrei Hart's perspective.
"When I started to do that more, we started to become better, because then she transferred that and did it back, so there was a mutual understanding," Hart said. "I will credit Torrei to this date for allowing me to be a work in progress. My friendship with Torrei today is the best it's every been within our co-parenting relationship."