Viola Davis Shares Why She Forgave her Father After Years Of Cruelty

Mason Joseph Zimmer
actress Viola Davis smilnig in selfie wearing red blazer
instagram | @violadavis

While there are no shortage of celebrities who were lucky enough to be born into families with the right connections to start their careers, it wouldn't be accurate to say that this is how life started for all of them.

Although we can say that this was partially because more of them than you might expect grew up in poverty, some also faced trauma and abuse from within their families at very young ages.

And whether you find yourself in the public eye as you come of age or not, it can be hard to come to terms with what happened to you when you reach adulthood. And even harder to reconcile with the people responsible for that misery.

Nonetheless, this is something that actress Viola Davis recently shared that she was able to do in the waning years of her father's life. And she explained how that was possible for her.

Although Davis' memoir entitled 'Finding Me' isn't set to hit shelves until April 26, it's already clear that it's not going to describe her early life as easy.

acrtess Viola Davis and her sister wearing mom's wigs as children
instagram | @violadavis

As she said to People, her life story is in many ways a tale of survival.

Part of this came from the rough environment she saw while growing up in Central Falls, Rhode Island that left her and her five siblings dumpster-diving for food. She also recalled periods of constant bullying from local boys who threw rocks at her because she is Black.

In her words, "The key is to survive. I did what was at my hand to do at 8 years old. I fought. And that fighting served me because I'm still on my feet."

Viola Davis' sister Dianne smiling with their mother Mae Alice
instagram | @diannedaviswright

Unfortunately, that fight didn't stop when she got home as her father spent many years being physically abusive to his family, particularly her mother Mae Alice (pictured left next to her sister Dianne.)

Nonetheless, her mom remained married to him for 48 years until his death from pancreatic cancer in 2006. And by then, their relationship had changed a great deal.

As Davis said, "My mom said he apologized to her every single day. Every single day, he rubbed her feet."

Viola Davis smiling in selfie from car showing off Kenyan necklace
instagram | @violadavis

And during the final years of his life, Davis would make her own peace with her father, deciding that she wanted to love him as she knew that somewhere inside him was a man who loved her.

As she put it, "Forgiveness is not pretty. Sometimes people don't understand that life is not a Thursday-night lineup on ABC. It is messy. He did hurt me then, but love and forgiveness can operate on the same plane as anger."

And not only has she said that her legacy with her dad can now be one of love and forgiveness as a result, but she also has a similar attitude to all of the hardships she's been through.

actress Viola Davis smiling in selfie wearing red blazer
instagram | @violadavis

In Davis' words, "I count it all as joy. I do. All of those things happened to me, but I own it. And it's a part of who I am. It's given me an extraordinary sense of compassion. It's reconciling that young girl in me and healing from the past—and finding home."

h/t: People