With the help of his older brother, Hart eventually put aside his feelings and helped his father find help in rehabilitation.
Comic actor Kevin Hart spoke at length about the process of forgiving his father, Henry Witherspoon, for being absent during his childhood due to drug and alcohol dependency.
The Night School star wrote about his father, Henry Witherspoon, in his 2017 memoir I Can’t Make This Up, and said that while his father’s presence while he was growing up was both sporadic and prone to tumult, he has learned to look beyond those memories and focus on their relationship today.
“Regardless of my upbringing and the way I was raised and how often he was in my life, he’s my dad,” said Hart. “I have a positive outlook on life regardless, and I’m going to love [him] because [he’s] my father.”
Hart also detailed the difficulties in his relationship with his father in a 2016 interview with Howard Stern, where he explained that while he was growing up in Philadelphia, Witherspoon was dependent on “heroin, coke, crack, you name it, he did it.”
According to Hart, Witherspoon even stole $20 that his son had received as a gift.
Thankfully, Hart had a grounding force in his mother, who worked as a computer analyst at the University of Pennsylvania while raising him and his brother.
“The reason I am the way I am is because my mom was so strong,” he said. “[She] was such a strong woman, she said, ‘Look, regardless of whatever your father’s doing and where he is, I have a job to do raising you. You’re going to do what you’re supposed to do and you’re going to grow up to be two intelligent men, me and my brother.”
With the help of his older brother, Hart eventually put aside his feelings about his father’s absence and helped him find help in rehabilitation.
There, according to Hart, “he met an amazing woman who turned his life around and helped him stay clean, and right now, he’s all about clean living.”
Hart added that he saw no value in holding on to the pain of the past. “I don’t understand people who hold grudges,” he said. “Do you know how much time and energy it takes to hold a grudge?”
Today, Witherspoon has a presence in his sons’ lives, for which Hart is grateful.
“I’m in a position where I’m blessed and I can provide,” he explained. “I can say, ‘Here, dad, here’s a home, here’s a car, here’s some money. Go spend time with your grandkids. Be the best grandpop. The days you missed with me are the days we missed. It’s fine. I’m okay with that.”