Kevin Hart Talks Growing Up With Addicted Father
Despite watching his father spend years mired in drug addiction, comedian Kevin Hart isn’t holding on to the past. Instead he sees his father’s struggles as a learning experience.
“He didn’t escape any of it—jail, drugs, addictions, ruining your family to a point where my mom didn’t want me and my brother to be around him,” the comedian told Variety in a recent interview. “Seeing the stuff firsthand. Seeing the reality behind drugs and addiction, and what it can really do to a person, that’s why I don’t do drugs. I learned what I shouldn’t be doing from what my dad did.”
He recalls his father’s struggles in his new memoir I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons. But instead of dwelling on the past, Hart welcomed his now sober dad (Henry Witherspoon) back into his life. He even has a relationship with Hart’s two kids, Heaven and Hendrix. “He’s as good as he can be,” said Hart. “He’s very much in their lives. He talks to them. He sends them messages. He Facetimes. He’s serious about making his presence felt.”
He adds, “It takes too much time and energy to keep hate alive.”
The Philly native, listed on Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015, addressed his father’s issues on The Howard Stern Show last year as well. “Heroin, coke, crack, you name it, he did it,” he said. “Nothing else mattered [to him].”
But the comedian, who lives life seeking “a positive in every negative,” says that his becoming a grounded individual and a great father was a result of watching his father miss most of his childhood and commit various screw-ups as he struggled with drug addiction.
“If my dad hadn’t been around and didn’t do drugs, I may be handling my success differently,” Hart told Howard Stern. “I may be on drugs, I may be searching for something.”
“The way I look at it now, I’m such a great father because I don’t want to make the mistakes that my dad made,” he said.