Missing her Uncle Pac. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's teenage daughter Willow Smith remembered her mom's late best friend, Tupac Shakur, on what would have been the rapper's 44th birthday on Tuesday, June 16.
"The Past" the music scion, 14, wrote on Instagram. "Happy Birthday, Pac." Accompanying her social media update were two throwback photos of her mother embracing her old friend, as well as a sweet letter once penned by Willow.
"Dear Tupac," the note reads. "I know you are alive someplace I think that my mommy really misses you. Can you please come back so mom and me can be happy! I wish you were here… I really do. Love, Willow."
Willow's birthday tribute to the "Changes" rapper comes several weeks after Pinkett Smith affectionately remembered her late friend on Howard Stern's SiriusXM radio show. The actress, now 43, and Shakur went way back to the '80s, when they met while attending the Baltimore School for the Arts.
"I've had never in my life met a person like Pac. He had so much charisma," Pinkett Smith reflected. "When I met Pac, he owned two pairs of pants and two sweaters… He used to tell me all the time. He was like, 'Jada, you're a superstar.' He didn't say it about himself."
While the two made their ascent to fame together, their paths eventually diverged. "He went to jail,” the Gotham star recalled. (Tupac was convicted in 1995 of sexually abusing a fan.) "Jail was a very difficult experience for him, and of course, we were on two sides of the spectrum. Pac and I have always had very intense conversations… and we had a very hardcore disagreement."
That falling out broke their friendship, soon before Tupac's 1996 murder in Las Vegas. "I just wasn't in agreement with the direction that he was taking, and I told him that, you know, it was a destructive direction," she shared. "And he felt as though I had changed. I'd gone Hollywood."
Still, the mother of Willow and Jaden, and stepmom to Trey, said she learned invaluable lessons from that fallout. "Life is too short," she shared. "Do not let disagreements stand in between you and people that you love."
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!