From losing her mother 23 years ago to experiencing physical, emotional and verbal abuse during her life, Smith opens up about her journey from loss to redemption, her setbacks and recoveries and how she was able to let go of what's holding her back and rediscover purpose and joy in her life.
Smith recalls moving to Los Angeles in 1994 to pursue her dreams. "Immediately when I got here, I just got hit with rejection after rejection. I was always almost there but not good enough," she says. "And then I felt like I was a total failure, even in my personal life."
She married comedian and actor Martin Lawrence and says that soon after, there was difficulty in their relationship.
"We were both really young, volatile with one another. We just could not figure out how to make it work," she says. She says she eventually left with her daughter. "I had nothing. I was ashamed, embarrassed. I was a mess."
After divorcing, she says she took a break to focus on herself, but on a girlfriend getaway to Aruba, Smith's life took an unexpected turn.
"After my very disappointing divorce from Martin Lawrence, I met Emmitt Smith," she says. "He was just a really kind, gracious guy. I always say when I met him, it just seemed like he had this light around him."
Smith says her relationship with the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer was on the fast track to marriage until one night, Emmitt told her that he had gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant.
"I was devastated. My self-esteem and self-worth had already taken major hits over the years. This just deepened the pain," she shares.
Smith says that after "a lot of prayer" and going to therapy, she and Emmitt married in 2000.
See Emmitt Smith through the years:
Emmitt Smith through the years
Emmitt Smith through the years
GAINESVILLE, FL - CIRCA 1986-1990: Emmitt Smith, #22 halfback of the Florida Gators football team poses for a headshot at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Collegiate Images/University of Florida/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
9 Sep 1989: Running back Emmitt Smith of the Florida Gators runs down the field during a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Florida Field in Gainesville, Florida. Mississippi won the game 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Allen Dean Steele /Allsport
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1990: Running Back Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during pre-game warm ups prior to the start of an NFL Football game circa 1990. Smith played for the Cowboys from 1990-02. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
IRVING, TX - DECEMBER 27: Runningback Emmitt Smith (22) of the Dallas Cowboys runs past free safety Mark Carrier of the Chicago Bears (L) 27 December 1992 in Texas, on his way to a 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. With this run, Smith gained 131 yards on 20 carries to win the 1992 NFL rushing title. The Cowboys won 27-14. (Photo credit should read TIM ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of Dallas Cowboys running back Emmit Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin celebrating Super Bowl win. File photo of Dallas Cowboys running back Emmit Smith (L) and wide receiver Michael Irvin celebrating their victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII, in Pasadena, California on January 31, 1993. Smith put an end to days-old speculation on February 3, 2005 by officially announcing his retirement at an afternoon press conference. Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher and a three-time Super Bowl champion with Dallas, made the announcement in the Super Bowl Media Center behind a Cowboys helmet. After spending the past two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, the 15-year NFL veteran signed a ceremonial contract with the Cowboys so he could retire as a member of the team where he spent his first 13 seasons. Picture taken January 31, 1993. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn/FILE
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Dallas Cowboys star running back Emmitt Smith loosens up for practice 25 January 1993 at the UCLA football practice field. The Cowboys will face the Buffalo Bills 31 January in Superbowl XXVII. (Photo credit should read CHRIS WILKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 30: Running back Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys kisses the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII on January 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith tries to rally teammates during the team's loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Irving, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 12, 1995. Smith called the loss "a disaster." (AP Photo/Linda Kaye)
Dallas Cowboys teammates celebrate Emmitt Smithâs (22) second touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XXX, Jan. 28, 1996, in Tempe, Ariz. The Cowboys never trailed, winning 27-17 to tie the San Francisco 49ers with five Super Bowl championships, while the Steelers lost for the first time in five appearances. (AP Photo/Susan Ragan)
President Clinton holds a Dallas Cowboys jersey bearing Emmitt Smith's number he received from the Cowboys running back, left, during a ceremony at the White House Tuesday Feb. 13, 1996 where the president honored the Super Bowl XXX champions. (AP Photo/Ruth Fremson)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 13: Dallas Cowboys runningback Emmitt Smith caught a Troy Aikman pass and runs it back for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17 win 13 December in Kansas City, MO. Smith is one rushing touchdown away from breaking former Chief Marcus Allen's record. Number 83 is tight end Hayward Clay. AFP Photo David KAUP (Photo credit should read DAVID KAUP/AFP/Getty Images)
Emmitt Smith sits next to his wife Pat as he announcing his retirement from the NFL after 15 years during a press conference on February 3, 2005 at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in Jacksonville, Florida on February 3, 2005 (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith hugs owner Jery Jones as he is inducted into the team's ring of fame during halftime ceremonies as Cowboys play against the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night Football game September 19, 2005 in Irving, Texas. The Skins defeated the Cowboys 14 - 13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
November 7, 2006. Hollywood, CA. Former NFL running back Emmitt Smith and professional dancer Cheryl Burke in their final rehearsal for Dancing With The Stars TV show. The couple advanced to the finals that will Tuesday Nov 14th here at CBS Television City studios. (Photo by Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 16: Football legend Emmitt Smith speaks at the Ronald McDonald House Of New York Celebrates World Children's Day at McDonald's Restaurant in Times Square on November 16, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images )
Emmitt Smith and Patricia Southall (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
DALLAS - FEBRUARY 13: Jamie Foxx and Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith sit courtside during the Foot Locker Three Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at the American Airlines Center on February 13, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2010 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Pat Smith and Emmitt Smith attend the Emmitt Smith's Suite 22 at the 2010 Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational at TPC Craig Ranch on May 14, 2010 in McKinney, Texas.
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith waves to a friend in the audience before being introduced at the Enshrinement Ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Saturday, August 7, 2010. (Photo by Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 04: Former NFL player Emmitt Smith and wife Pat Smith during the 2011 Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Music Hall at Fair Park on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Super Bowl Gospel Celebration 2011)
DANCING WITH THE STARS: ALL-STARS - 'Episode 1510' -- After 10 weeks of competitive dancing, the three All-Stars women finalists had their last chance to impress the judges and viewers on two final nights of competition, beginning MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26 (8:00-9:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images)
EMMITT SMITH, ROMEO
Former Florida Gators Chris Leak, right, laughs as Emmitt Smith, left, gets a surprise hug from Lawrence Wright before the start of the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Louisville Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Joshua C. Cruey/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 20: Miss Virginia USA 1993 Patricia Smith (L) and her husband, former NFL player and pageant judge Emmitt Smith, attend the 2015 Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on December 20, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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"Life was awesome, but as years went on, I found myself starting to lose Pat," she says, adding that the next challenge for her was Emmitt being cast on "Dancing with the Stars."
"I'm dealing with trust issues, self-worth. You're dancing with this cute little 20-something-year-old," Smith says, of Emmitt's dancing partner Cheryl Burke. "As much success as he had on the show, I really was happy for him, but I was getting more and more angry and more and more resentful because I was not fulfilling my own dreams. It caused friction." She adds that Cheryl never acted disrespectfully.
In the video above, Smith tells Dr. Phil why she wrote her new book Second Chances and why she believes second chances are so important.
"For years, I lived with this thought of feeling like a failure. I felt so much shame because of decisions that I made in my life, really bad decisions that I made, mistakes that I made, a lot of losses," Smith says. "And so, I finally got to a place and realized that things happen in life for a reason – good and bad – and I learned that the things that happened for me that were bad in my eyes, actually were the things that God was using to build me to be the woman that he really wanted me to be."