Denzel Washington’s Son John David Says His Father’s Success Gave Him Anxiety

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Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, talked about the difficulties of establishing his own identity as his father’s acting success grew.

It’s something he admitted while making the promotional rounds for the new film “BlackKklansman,” made by Spike Lee. But first John David talked about his mother being the disciplinarian of the family, and how she used to punish him.

“It’s difficult to be Pauletta Washington’s son,”  he told WGN. “I got a lot of whoopings back in the day. I was a very curious kid.”

John David Washington Felt Pressure
Wikimedia Commons/YouTube

But in a separate interview with Great Day Washington, the 34-year-old said his mother was also extremely nurturing when it came to his acting pursuits.

She also works with him to prepare for auditions and helped him get the part of Ricky in the HBO series “Ballers.” Plus, Pauletta is brutally honest with her son and will tell him if she feels he’s not ready for a certain part.

Then, in that same conversation, John David opened up about his father and the challenges he had establishing his own independence, which led to a sports career. John David played running back for the United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions for six years before he took on acting professionally.

“It was sort of this rebellious quest of independence,” he explained. “I used it as fuel to engineer this football career. As my father started ascending in the business, people around me started to treat me different. Our lives changed. So that anxiety, that sort of resentment, I just funneled it through football. Bash heads. And like they say, it was helmet syndrome. They can’t see my face, it’s just the last name. So it’s like, ‘Who’s that Washington kid out there?'”

Meanwhile, this past Monday (July 30) at a New York screening, Denzel went to see his son in “BlackKklansman,” and other famous names like Harry Belafonte and Tiffany Haddish were also in attendance.

John David plays the role of real-life cop Ron Stallworth, who infiltrated the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s. The film will be released on Aug. 10, and there’s already a buzz over the actor’s performance.

As to whether he misses football or not, the 34-year-old said he doesn’t due to all the injuries.

“Ask my knees, ask my Achilles,” he stated. “I just came off of a sports hernia, football’s parting gift to me. So I don’t miss it.”

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