Jada Pinkett Smith was "overcome with sadness" on Christmas Day.
The 43-year-old actress, who was raised by her mother, admits she "spent most of the day swimming in tears" after two of her friends presented her with a box of photographs of her estranged father, Robsol Pinkett Jr., who died in 2010.
The 'Gotham' star shared her sorrow on Facebook, writing: "This Xmas, ruins of my heart were illuminated after receiving a box of framed pictures of my deceased father as a gift from two childhood friends.
"I was overcome by sadness for a man I had believed I had no connection to because he did not raise me. The sadness became excruciating pain only because I was fighting...fighting not to...feel. I then surrendered, became flooded with emotion and spent most of the day swimming in my tears (sic)."
Despite being deeply upset by the gift, the actress, who is married to Will Smith, says it ultimately helped her to feel more connected to her late father.
She wrote: "But finally, my tears birthed a gift of understanding, which was the fact that, whether he raised me or not, we are bound, connected and I became delightfully aware and deeply grateful to...feel it. Today...I'm smiling."
Jada, who has daughter Willow, 14, and son Jaden, 16, with Will, previously admitted she found it difficult growing up without a father figure.
Last year, she said: "It hit me how significant that role is to any girls development and life. All these years I had denied that significance in order to forge ahead."