Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are often seen as goals for the ultimate marriage. But the actor spouses, who have been married for more than 20 years, have not always had it easy. They shared some of their secret struggles on Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch show, “Red Table Talk” and below are five takeaways from the two-part episode.
Will’s Own Revelation: He Did a Lot for Jada to Boost His Ego
Smith admitted that while he told his wife he built their multi-million dollar home, which he called “Her Lake” for his wife, she helped him realize it was all for his ego.
“I was saying, ‘I built this house for you. I called it ‘her lake,” and she said, ‘No, you built this house for you,'” he recalled. “And I was like, ‘What you talking about, Jada?’ But it was devastating for me to accept that I built the house for me. Because in my mind, I was saying I was building it for her but I wasn’t. I wanted this house. I called it ‘her lake’ as an ego cover, right? And Jada was calling me on that.”
The same revelation occurred when Smith planned his wife’s 40th birthday party the day after she turned 37. For three years he prepped for an unforgettable party to include an extensive documentary about her life with unheard audiotapes of her deceased grandmother.
“She’s like, ‘It’s my birthday!’ She told me that the party was the most ridiculous display of my ego,” Smith remembered. “Crushed, right? To this day I know I was crushed because it was true. It wasn’t a party for her. And when she called me on that, that’s when I snapped.”
They Broke Up Without Actually Ending Their Marriage
At one point, things got so rough for the couple — including a time when Pinkett Smith was sobbing for 45 days straight — that they were forced to split up.
“I was devastated even worse than a divorce,” Smith said before his wife noted she’d never sought a divorce attorney. “We broke up within our marriage and got back together again and had to rebuild with new rules and something way, completely different.”
The couple had to redefine their relationship once they came back together and no longer refer to each other as husband and wife.
“Will and I have decided to even throw away the concept of marriage,” Pinkett Smith said. “It’s a life partnership in the sense that we created a foundation together that we know is for this lifetime.”
Jada Was So Against Getting Married That She Sobbed Walking Down the Aisle
The “Girls Trip” star got pregnant with her oldest son, Jaden, and she and Smith decided to get married at the will of her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. But Pinkett Smith wasn’t here for it.
“I just knew I never wanted to be married,” the actress said, noting she also didn’t want to have a wedding. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to get married and now Gammy done gone to Will crying about I don’t want to have a wedding’ and now I’m being forced to have a wedding.”
“I was so upset that I had to have a wedding I was so pissed. I went crying down the freakin’ aisle getting married,” she added of the ceremony.
Will Could Have Gotten with Jada a Lot Earlier If He Hadn’t Met His First Wife
Will and Jada’s love story is one about missed connections. The young actor was starring on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” when he saw his future wife on “A Different World” and visited the set to meet her. But fate had other plans.
“I went to ‘Different World’ to meet Jada and met Sheree [Zampino]. And ended up marrying Sheree and having Trey with Sheree. I didn’t meet Jada that day,” he said.
Jada’s Personal Aha! Moment
Of all the interviews Jada has had so far, her biggest lightbulb moment came from her daughter, Willow, who shared she self-harmed as a tween.
“That was a moment — right in that moment as she was speaking — recognizing that she’s allowed her journey and I don’t have to know everything about that,” Pinkett Smith says exclusively to Atlanta Black Star at a “Red Table Talk” event last week. “In that moment knowing it was just time for me to listen and not get self-absorbed in thinking ‘how come I didn’t know’ … and releasing my own stuff. … and just being with Willow and listening to her story. That was an a-ha moment.”