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It’s safe to say Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have had their fair share of ups and downs.
On this week’s episode of the Red Table Talk, Will and Jada detail the very real struggles they faced over the nearly 21 years they have been married.
Starting from the day they met on the set of Different World, Will said he “knew there was something in our energy that was magic.” But fate had different plans for Will and Jada, as Smith revealed, “I went to Different World to meet Jada but met Sheree [Sheree Zampino] and ended up marrying Sheree and having Trey with Sheree.”
The two would continue to see each other as friends over the years and, according to Will, “Every time we saw each other it was always a beautiful energy.”
Despite their connection, Jada and Will never pursued a relationship until after his divorce, as Jada made clear when she looked at the camera and pointedly said, “We did not have an affair while he was married. Let’s be clear about that.”
Nonetheless, Will said he realized he couldn’t deny the feeling that “I wasn’t with the person I was supposed to be with.”
This epiphany led to turmoil for Smith, with one night in particular coming to mind. “I was sitting in a stall in the restaurant and I was crying uncontrollably and then laughing like, ‘What they heck is wrong with me’…. I knew that was the woman [Jada] I was supposed to be with, but I was never getting divorced. I don’t get divorced,” he recalled.
And while he “never” would’ve initiated a divorce, Sheree didn’t feel the same way. He laughed as he said, “Sheree filed for divorce on Valentines Day. I was like, ‘Ouch,’ and I still told her no. You can’t have a divorce.”
Eventually, after his divorce to Sheree was finalized, Will picked up the phone and called Jada. “I said, ‘Aye Jada, what’s up? It’s Will.’ She’s like, ‘Hey! How you doing?’ I said, ‘Good, are you seeing anybody?’, she said, ‘Uhh no.’ I said ‘Cool, you’re seeing me now.'”
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In response, Jada quipped, “My dumb ass was like, ‘Okay!'”
At the time, she was moving to Baltimore to live out her dream of living in a farmhouse, but instead returned to Los Angeles to be with Will. And while daughter Willow Smith thinks it’s a bit sad her mom never achieved her goal, Jada has no regrets. “It’s okay cause I got you! Everything happens for a reason,” Jada assured.
Then after just two years of dating, Jada got pregnant. “I knew the moment after the act that I was pregnant. The moment. I knew that night and he didn’t believe me but I knew,” Jada revealed.
Ultimately, the two married, although Jada said she “never wanted to be married.” According to Will, “We only got married because Gammy was crying.”
Then the day of the wedding came and the bride and groom were utterly miserable. Jada said she “cried the whole way down the aisle.”
“I just never really agree with the construct. I never have. I still don’t,” she explained. “Till death do us part is real for me. It’s just all of the rules because of this title ‘wife’.”
And in one of their first real fights as a married couple, Will set the tone for how their fights would play out over the years, after Jada told Will to “Shut the f–k up.”
He explained, “I grew up in a household where I watched my father punch my mother in the face and I will not create a house, a space, an interaction with a person where there is profanity and violence. If you have talk to me like that, we can’t be together. We’re not going to use any profanity in our actions, we’re not going to raise our voice, we’re not going to be violent. I can’t do it. I said, ‘get out.’ She was like, ‘So wait, you would break up with me over some words?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I just did.’ Her eyes swelled up and she was like, ‘Okay’.”
So for the next 20 or so years, they never spoke with profanity or anger. “Really, you’re not communicating when you’re talking to each other with anger. What I realized is you’re beating up someone you say you love,” Jada said.
Then there came a point in their relationship when Will said, “There was a period where mommy woke up and cried 45 days straight. I started keeping a diary.”
He realized, “I was failing miserably, but on the outside I was winning… I had a public perception that I wanted to project of our relationship, of the family, of my wife, of what the kids are, what we are in the world.”
Then he started to feel that Jada was “sacrificing herself to fit my picture.” Even their kids noticed, to the point where a nine-year-old Willow told him, “Isn’t it sad? Daddy has a picture of a family in his mind and it’s not us.”
Jada said she reached her boiling point when she turned 40. “I was just like fed up,” she revealed.
Their conversation ends there, but the family picks right up with their talk on next week’s episode.