Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith separated in 2016

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith separated in 2016
Will Smith Jada Pinkett Smith

Will Smith and his spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith, have consistently courted controversy. Having been wed since 1997, they’ve never shied away from the fact that they maintain an open relationship, openly discussing their intimate proclivities. In 2022, Will made headlines by physically confronting comedian Chris Rock on the Oscars stage in a public defense of Jada, following an unfortunate remark about her closely cropped hairstyle. However, the actress herself revealed during an interview with People that the two of them have secretly lived apart for seven years.

The separation

The couple, who exchanged vows in 1997, is still in the process of “figuring out” the fate of their marriage. Jada spoke with NBC News and elucidated the reasons behind the failure of her union with the 55-year-old Will: “By the time 2016 rolled around, we simply felt drained from the effort”. I think we were both ensnared by our own fantasies about what the other person should be. I had made a commitment that divorce would never be an option, that we would work through anything. But I couldn’t uphold that pledge.”

The Oscar incident

Jada revealed that the couple had actually been living separately when her husband confronted comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars during a fit of rage prompted by a derogatory comment about her hairstyle. “We’ve undergone substantial growth together,” said Jada. “We possess a profound affection for each other, and we will find a way.”

Jada went on to commend her children – Jaden, 25, Willow, 22, and Trey, 30, who is Will’s son from a prior relationship – for their unwavering support during this trying phase in their relationship. “My kids are like little mentors. They’ve imparted a profound sense of self-acceptance to me,” she remarked. “They cherish every facet of me. The level of love, unconditional love, they harbor for me and their father. Wanting to be the source of such unconditional love is one thing, and receiving it is another.”

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith: open relationship?

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett have never hidden their embrace of an open relationship. “I’m not bound by monogamy; marriage doesn’t need to be confining, and Jada has never been a proponent of traditional matrimony,” Will explained.

In July 2020, Jada publicly confessed that she engaged in a relationship with singer August Alsina, 31, while still maintaining her marriage to Will. She divulged this relationship for the first time during a candid conversation with her former husband on her Facebook show, Red Table Talk. She noted that she had formed a friendship with August four years prior, emphasizing that she and Will were going through a “rough patch” and had “essentially separated.” At the time, Jada referred to her extended association with the R&B artist as an ‘entanglement,’ a term now referenced in August’s song ‘Shake the World.’