Jada Pinkett Smith turned her back on her musical ambitions so she could concentrate on helping her children launch their own careers.
The Nutty Professor star has long dreamed of becoming a successful singer and fronted rock band Wicked Wisdom in 2002.
But Pinkett Smith struggled to balance her music career with her son Jaden's acting roles so she "cancelled everything" to put her little boy first.
She tells Britain's The Times Magazine, "I'd wake up angry and go to bed angry. In the end, I decided things had to change. I was offered a tour with my band but Jaden was asked to film The Pursuit of Happyness.
"He was seven and a half. Could I really let my little boy go and do a film without me being there? I cancelled the tour. I cancelled everything. I went to look after Jaden."
The actress, who is married to Hollywood star Will Smith, has also scaled back on her movie commitments in the past few years to support Jaden, 12, and his 10-year-old sister Willow, who recently launched herself as a pop singer.
She adds, "On the one hand, I wanted a career. I'd worked so hard and yet there I was, strung out on having to make decisions based on that and it was too difficult. Should I be a star? Should I be a mum? A wife? You can't be all three, something has to give.
"I was trying to do everything but not doing anything very well. I was failing. I was papering over the cracks. I thought I was going to die. I'd wake up next to Will and think, 'What are you doing here Why are you here?' and I'd feel angry. I felt everything was dying. But then I realised we were going round one side of the circle and we had to come out the other side."