Jada Pinkett-Smith recently shared a video to Instagram in which she claimed that she contributed to a “false narrative” about herself. Today, thanks to excerpts from a few bombshell interviews with PEOPLE and TODAY, fans are starting to understand exactly what she was referring to.
Ahead of the release of her new memoir, Worthy, Jada is revealing that she and Will Smith are separated. In this preview of the full-length interview airing with TODAY’s Hoda Kotb later this week, Jada confirmed that since 2016, they’ve been living “completely separate lives”.
It’s a bold revelation, truly. Because what it means is that she and Will have been lying to the public about the state of their relationship for the last several years. It also means that the infamous “entanglement” situation she found herself in with rapper August Alsina was totally misrepresented to the public.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the success of Jada’s Facebook series Red Table Talk, which was presented as a platform where people could go and have in-depth conversations about truly personal matters.
Will and Jada themselves appeared together in an episode, which quickly set a new record as Facebook’s most-watched original episode in the first 24 hours, racking up 12 million views in a day, to set the record straight. Or crooked, I guess we can say, now that we know the true circumstances.
Long before that salacious episode, though, their relationship had been the subject of many tabloids and headlines which makes sense as they were a Black power couple in Hollywood. And though they appeared to have been very open about their marriage, their parenting styles and their family life, her revelations are showing that in the last several years, they’ve been very strategic about how they’ve presented themselves, often appearing on red carpets together and denying rumours that they were headed for divorce.
That’s the part of it all that makes it so strange. In 2020, she and Will were both open about the fact that they were separated during her relationship with August.
"I was done with your ass. I was done with you," Will said on Red Table Talk. "Marriages have that though."
"It all started with him just needing some help. Me wanting to help his health, his mental state," she explained about August at the time the episode aired. "From there, you know, as time went on I got into a different kind of entanglement with August.”
Will asked her to clarify what that meant, at which point she confirmed it was an actual relationship, something August says Will gave him his blessing to pursue during an interview with Angela Yee, but Jada refuted that – saying she was the only person that could have granted that permission.
"I actually sat down with Will and had a conversation. Due to the transformation from their marriage to a life partnership that they have spoken on several times, and not involving romanticism, he gave me his blessing."
Later on in the episode, the pair revealed that they got back together and were able to work through their issues and Jada discussed how “proud” she was of how far they’ve come. Since then, we’ve seen them on red carpets together, sharing stories on social media, despite her now confirming that they never, in fact, got back together. And she seemed to have trouble explaining why it fell apart in the first place, beyond this reason she provided to Hoda Kotb:
“Why it fractured...that — that’s a lot of things ... By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be,” she explained.
The situation is messy and raises even more questions. One of my main questions has to do with the Oscar slap – something her memoir also touches on.
"I thought, ‘This is a skit.’ 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 recalled.
If anything became clear in that instance at the Oscars, it’s that there’s still a lot of love there. And though she admits she has considered a legal divorce, there’s a reason she’s never been able to actually go through with it.
“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. I just haven’t been able to break that promise…We’re still figuring it out. We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
I feel like her remarks are an indication of any regular marriage. Wanting to work through it, trying to keep promises, doing the work, and trying to figure it out. So what was the point of lying? Was it to save face? Was it to keep up appearances? None of it makes sense, which kind of makes the lie even weirder.
This is a couple that has always done things their own way. And that’s a difficult thing to do when Hollywood marriages tend to look fairly linear. But there’s so much power and truth in what she’s saying about having a deep and immense love for Will and not wanting to legally divorce him, but growing apart enough that being separated was the best option for them. I’m worried that the power of that revelation is almost negated by the fact that they’ve maintained this façade for as long as they have.
There’s also a strong sense of irony in the fact that Jada has this unique ability to remind us that we don’t always have to have everything figured out, but lied and made it appear that everything was figured out. And in the end, I guess the fact that even she felt the pressure to lie drives home the point that we really don’t have to have everything figured out.
I wrote a piece touting the healing that took place on the Red Table Talk platform, where people often went to heal their mother wounds and the symbolism of three generations of women being the ones to guide and mediate the conversations that took place. But this conversation that Jada is having in her memoir is between her and herself, and perhaps that’s what prompted her to finally be honest with us, too.