Jada Pinkett Smith has shared an update on the status of her marriage to Will Smith, disclosing in recent interviews that they have been separated since 2016.
In the new interviews, the star of Girls Trip revealed that she and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum have been apart for seven years.
Although fans are only learning about this now, Jada confirmed to Today that she and Will have been living separately since 2016. So why did they keep their separation a secret?
“I think we just weren’t ready yet, still trying to figure out how to be in partnership and how to present that to people,” Jada told Hoda Kotb in an interview released on October 11. “We hadn’t figured that out.”
She also shed light on what led to their separation.
“Why it fractured, there are many reasons,” the actress added. “By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted from trying. I think we were both stuck in our fantasies of what we thought the other person should be.”
Although Jada considered divorce, she ultimately decided not to file.
“I made a promise that there would never be a reason for us to get a divorce,” she said in the interview, part of Jada’s Story – An NBC News Special airing on October 13. “We will work through whatever, and I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”
Indeed, Jada indicated that they are still navigating their relationship.
“We’re still figuring it out,” the 52-year-old also told People in a profile published on October 11. “We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just have deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
At the 2022 Oscars, where Will won the Best Actor trophy for his lead role in King Richard and slapped Chris Rock onstage after a joke about Jada’s shaved head, Jada realized the severity of the situation only after the incident.
“I thought, ‘This is a skit,’” Jada, who lives with alopecia, recalled. “I was like, ‘There’s no way that Will hit him.’ It wasn’t until Will started to walk back to his chair that I even realized it wasn’t a skit.”
Jada remembers asking her husband if he was OK after the show, suggesting he is still on his own journey.
“I’m going to be by his side,” she added, “but also allow him to have his space.”
Following the incident, Will resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was banned from its events for 10 years. He also apologized to Chris, calling the slap “unacceptable” and noting “there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment.” Will made it clear that Jada “had nothing to do” with his actions.
Chris, in his 2023 Netflix comedy special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, spoke about the incident, stating that “nobody was pickin’ on” Jada. While Jada has remained relatively quiet about the incident, she expressed her hope “that these two intelligent capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile.”
Jada and Will got married in 1997 after his divorce from Sheree Zampino, with whom he shares a 30-year-old son, Trey Smith.
“Will called me up one day and said, ‘Hit me when you get to L.A.’ and then… click. And I was like, ‘Whoa. Okay,’” Jada told People. “And so when I got to L.A., I called him. I haven’t been able to get rid of him since.”
Over the years, the couple—who have two children together, Jaden Smith, 25, and Willow Smith, 22—have made headlines due to the ups and downs in their relationship, including Jada’s “entanglement” with August Alsina, which she discussed in a 2020 episode of Red Table Talk.
In addition to opening up to Today and People about her marriage and mental health journey, she is sharing her story in her upcoming book Worthy, set to debut on October 17.
“At the heart of this powerful book are two unexpected love stories,” a press release for the book stated, “one being Jada’s complicated marriage to Will Smith, the other being the one with herself.”
For a look back at Jada and Will’s relationship over the years, keep scrolling.
Stunner in a blue outfit (dress?)! Will and Jada are all smiles at the Devil in a Blue Dress premiere in 1995.
Baby bump alert
Jada is styling more than just a trendy silver coat in this 1998 red carpet photo: she’s showing off her baby bump in a sleek black dress. Jaden Smith was born on July 8, 1998.
Hats off to the couple who never cease to show up on a red carpet in style. Here they are together at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California in 2005.