Jada Pinkett Smith has confirmed that she and her husband Will Smith have been separated for seven years, and the couple’s previous statements about divorce have resurfaced.
The Girls Trip singer stated on October 11 that she and Will had been separated for six years at the time of the notorious Oscars slap in March 2022. Jada revealed to People that she and Will are “still figuring it out” when it comes to their 26-year marriage.
“We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together,” she said. “We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
Will, 55, and Jada, 52, married in 1997 and have two children: Jaden (25), and Willow (22). Trey, the actor’s 30-year-old son with ex-wife Sheree Zampino, is also a father.
The Hollywood duo has been open about their love throughout the years, despite rumors of adultery and allegations of an open marriage. Will has repeatedly stated that “divorce is not an option” for him and Jada.
Back in 2006, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star told MTV News that divorce was not in the cards for his marriage to Jada. “Divorce can’t be an option. With Jada, I stood up in front of God and said, ‘Til death do us part.’ So there are two possible outcomes. One, we are going to be together till death, or two, I am dead.”
Just two years later, during an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show, the actor reaffirmed his sentiment. “What I found is divorce just can’t be an option,” Will told Ellen Degeneres in 2008. “It’s really that simple. And I think that’s the problem with LA – there are so many options. So a huge part of the success for [Jada] and I is that we just removed the other options.”
Meanwhile, Jada has shared similar sentiments about her long-term relationship with Will, as well as their refusal to consider divorce. Jada remembered the difficult conversation she had with Will before marrying Will in 1997 in a 2018 episode of her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk.
“I told Will from the gate, I said let me tell you something: ‘If you marry me, know this: we’re gonna be together. We’re going to be under the same roof,’” she said. “For me personally, I’m not mature enough to have a divorce, I’m just not. I don’t think I would ever be mature enough, I don’t.”
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While the couple has remained loyal to their marriage, there has been some skepticism about it. In truth, both Jada and Will have admitted to previous “entanglements” with other partners as well as a non-traditional marriage.
Will stated on Red Table Talk in 2018 that the couple almost divorced in 2011 after an altercation at Jada’s 40th birthday party. The actor arranged for Mary J. Blige to sing at Jada’s birthday party and produced a documentary on her life. His wife, on the other hand, thought the birthday celebration was “the most disgusting display of ego I have ever seen in my life.”
“We essentially had to destroy our marriage divorce,” Will explained to Jada, Willow, and Jada’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, on Red Table Talk. “Because I had been divorced before, I wasn’t getting divorced again. Divorce wasn’t an option.”
In his 2021 memoir, Will, he elaborated on the incident, writing, “Our marriage wasn’t working. We could no longer pretend. We were both miserable and clearly something had to change.” The actor also wrote in his self-titled biography that he and Jada were “suffering the brutal death of our romantic fantasies, the burning away of the idealistic illusion of the perfect marriage and the perfect family.”
“Neither of us wanted a divorce; we knew we loved each other, and some aspects of our union were magical. But the structure of the life that we had established was strangling both of us,” he explained.
In 2020, artist August Alsina alleged that he and Jada dated when she and Will were married in an open marriage. Alsina stated in an interview with The Breakfast Club that Will had given them his “blessing” and approved of their relationship after his marriage to Jada “transformed” into a non-romantic “life partnership.”
“I actually sat down with Will and had a conversation due to the transformation from their marriage to life partnership that they’ve spoken on several times and it not involve romanticism,” he told me. Jaden, Jada’s son, is said to have introduced the couple in 2015. Alsina went on to say that he “totally gave myself to that relationship for years of my life and I truly and really, really deeply loved and have a ton of love for her.”
On the same day Alsina’s charges were made public, a spokeswoman for Jada stated that they were “absolutely not true.”
But less than two weeks later, Jada and Will made an appearance on a Red Table Talk episode, during which she acknowledged having a relationship with Alsina despite their separation at the time. “We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time and you go figure out how to make yourself happy and I’ll figure out how to make myself happy,” she added.
“From there, as time went on, I got into a different kind of entanglement with August… Yes, it was a relationship absolutely,” she clarified. Jada refuted Alsina’s claim that her husband granted them “permission” to pursue a relationship, saying, “The only person who could give permission in that particular circumstance was myself.”
One year later, the I Am Legend star revealed more about his unusual relationship with Jada. Will emphasized that “marriage for us can’t be a prison” and that providing each other unconditional support was the “highest definition of love” in a cover story for GQ released in 2021.
“Jada never believed in conventional marriage… Jada had family members that had an unconventional relationship. So she grew up in a way that was very different than how I grew up,” Smith told the outlet. “There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for the large part of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, not thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection.”
“We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way. And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”
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Will addressed some of the rumors surrounding his relationship with Jada in an interview with Gayle King for CBS Mornings, nearly two weeks before the 2022 Oscars and the infamous Oscars slap.
“There’s never been infidelity in our marriage,” he said. “Jada and I talk about everything, and we have never surprised one another with anything, ever.”