Although Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are beyond couples goals, they have had ups and downs just like any other married couple — albeit on a much more publicized scale, with tabloids printing new cheating or breakup rumors every few months.
Smith, 50, and Pinkett-Smith, 47 are parents to Jaden, 20 and Willow, 17, in addition to Trey, 25, from Will’s first marriage to Sheree Zampino. The couple sat down on Monday for the fall premiere of Pinkett-Smith’s Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk, which she co-hosts with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow. The Smiths revealed a lot of truth-bombs and cleared up some rumors, including the fact that they never had an affair while Smith was still married to Zampino.
“Will and I said our vows almost 21 years ago,” Pinkett-Smith said. “And it’s been an incredible journey ever since. But we’ve struggled with a lot of real pain to get to where we are today.”
Smith said the first time he remembers seeing Pinkett-Smith was while watching an episode of A Different World.
“When I saw you on A Different World — it was that thing,” Smith said. “And, I don’t know what it is but, the bell rang and I knew that there was something in our energy that would be magic.”
Smith revealed that he actually went to a taping of the show to meet Jada but ended up meeting his first wife instead.
“And I ended up marrying Sheree and having Trey with Sheree,” Smith said. “I didn’t meet Jada that day.”
Smith said he eventually came to the realization that he “was not with the person he was meant to be with.”
Pinkett-Smith said her husband would have stayed married to Sheree forever though, if she hadn’t been the one to file for divorce herself on Valentines’ Day.
“I would never have gotten divorced,” Smith said. “For me, I knew that I would squander my life if I was running around. That’s the way my mind works — I can only excel for a woman.”
Smith said right after he signed the divorce papers, he called Pinkett-Smith.
“I said ‘Hey Jada, are you seeing anybody?’” Smith said. “And she said, ‘no,’ and I said, ‘cool, you’re seeing me now.’”
“And my dumbass was like, ‘OK,’” Pinkett-Smith said.
Pinkett-Smith said she got pregnant with Jaden two years into dating her now husband.
“I knew the moment after the act that I was pregnant,” she said. “The moment. He didn’t believe me but, I knew.”
Pinkett-Smith said she felt pressured to get married to Smith by her mother, which pissed her off because she didn’t believe in the construct of marriage.
“I still don’t,” she said. “‘Till death do us part’ is real for me. It’s just all of the rules and the ideas…the accepted conventional definition of wife — I’m not that.”
Smith said one of the biggest factors that has kept their marriage strong is that they did not use profanity or raise their voices at each other for 20 years.
“We wouldn’t have been able to nurture kindness, love,” Pinkett-Smith said. “I really had to discipline myself…to say, ‘OK, what are you angry about?’ And then come to peace and then talk to Will when I can actually have communication because you’re really not communicating when you’re angry.”
Smith said externally as a couple, they are magical.
“We win in the material world — we do it together, we win,” he said. “The Karate Kid, Whip My Hair, Hawthorne and the Nobel Peace Prize — our family did that within a six month period. That was like, ‘I am parenting the sh*t out of these kids.’ The only interview Barack Obama did when he won the Nobel Peace Prize was with me and mommy. Externally, our family was winning.”
But Smith said internally, things were not as good.
“There was a period of time when mommy woke up and cried 45 days straight,” he said. “I started keeping a diary.”
Smith said that was the worst he ever felt in their marriage.
“I was failing miserably,” he said. “But on the outside, I was winning.”
Smith said they had major issues surrounding him building their $45 million Calabasas mansion.
“I built the house and called it ‘Her Lake,’” Smith said. “And during that time, I remember saying, ‘I built this house for you,’ and I remember her saying, ‘you built this house for you.’”
Smith said that realization was devastating for him.
“Because in my mind, I said I was, ‘building it for her.’ But I wasn’t,” Smith said. “I wanted this house. I called it, ‘Her Lake’ as an ego cover, right, and Jada was calling me out on that. What I realized was that I was building a picture. I grew up in a household where I was scared and so, I was gonna build the complete opposite of that. ‘It’s gonna be a Wonderland. We’re going to be happy all of the time. Come on Willow, let’s play!’”
Will said building the luxurious mansion was his way of projecting this perfect perception of their family.
“There were times I felt ungrateful,” Jada said. “Because I was like, ‘Look at your life, how could you be so unhappy?’ I used to think I was crazy.”
Smith said Pinkett-Smith molded herself to be the perfect wife, putting her own career on hold to be a mom.
“Jada’s an actress but she had two babies,” Smith said. “And she had to be home and raise her babies while I got to do everything I wanted to do. She was sacrificing herself to fit my picture.”
Pinkett-Smith said she was trying to live up to an expectation for Smith.
“You were trapped in a life that you didn’t build and that you didn’t want,” Smith said.
“And I had to come to the understanding that I allowed myself to have,” Pinkett-Smith said.
Smith said the turning point in their relationship was when she turned 40.
“I can’t do this anymore,” she said, before the episode ended.
“Part 2 of Becoming Mr. & Mr. Smith” will be released next Monday on Facebook Watch, in which the Smiths talk about how they broke up at one point.
“It was worse than divorce,” Smith said in the preview.
Regardless of any past breakups, it’s safe to say they will always have “that Jada and that Will love.”