Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Was Separated From Will Smith Years Before ‘The Slap’

Also, she revealed that Chris Rock once asked her out on a date.

Jada Pinkett Smith Says She Was Separated From Will Smith Years Before ‘The Slap’
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at the premiere of Emancipation in November 2022. Photo:Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

In recent years, the marital union of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith has become one of Hollywood’s greatest mysteries right up there with Natalie Wood’s apparent drowning and if BJ Novak is, in fact, the father of Mindy Kaling’s children. Questions as to whether Mr. and Mrs. Smith are both queer or maintain a polyamorous marriage have swirled—and kind of been addressed—for a while. Now, Pinkett Smith is setting the record straight on where she and her husband of 26 years stand. Spoiler alert: kinda far apart.

In her new memoir, Worthy, Pinkett Smith confirms that the couple has actually been privately separated for the last six years—yes, pre-Oscars slap and infamous entanglement. Pinkett Smith sat down with Hoda Kotb for NBC News to discuss the shocking separation and the more salacious aspects of the book for a special to run on October 13. In a preview, which aired Wednesday on Today, Kotb implores Pinkett Smith to define their secret split.

“It was not a divorce on paper,” Kotb prompts, to which Pinkett Smith confirms. “…but it was a divorce,” Kotb presses.“Divorce,” Pinkett Smith states plainly, nodding her head.

According to Pinkett Smith, the couple have long been living completely separate lives despite their very public amiability. Both have, it should be noted, given countless interviews in the time they’ve been separated, and shared more than one candid conversation on Pinkett Smith’s former Facebook series Red Table Talk, about what appeared to be an enduring union. Pinkett Smith doesn’t fully get into the reason for their demise.

“Why it fractured…that, that’s a lot of things. By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying,” she explained to Kotb. “I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”

Pinkett Smith then added that the couple did, for a time, consider a legal divorce, but that she just hasn’t yet been able to bring herself to move forward with it.

“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through…whatever,” Pinkett Smith said. “I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

In a new People magazine cover story, Pinkett Smith spoke further on the split, telling the magazine that she and Smith are “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.”

She also provided a bit more context for their relationship, noting that at the time she began seeing Smith, she was being treated for depression and relied heavily—and perhaps unhealthily—on their bond.

“Once I met Will, I completely abandoned my mental health,” she told People. “I was so intoxicated by him and our dynamic. I really felt like I’m cured.” Pinkett Smith said she soon stopped taking medication. “He became the drug.”

Then, Pinkett Smith took a different path down memory lane—the one that, unfortunately, leads us to the 94th Academy Awards where her husband er, uh, ex-husband?? interrupted the ceremony to slap host, Chris Rock. Rock, as we all well remember, had just made an unnecessary quip about Pinkett Smith’s alopecia.

“I thought, ‘This is a skit,’” Pinkett Smith recalled of the moment. “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.” No, it sadly was not. The plot, only thickened, however, when Pinkett Smith went on to reveal that years prior—as she and Smith weathered previous divorce rumors—Rock actually asked Pinkett Smith out on a date. She, of course, declined.

“I think every summer all the reports would come out that me and Will were getting a divorce. And this particular summer, Chris, he thought that we were getting a divorce,” she explained. “So he called me and basically he was like, ‘I’d love to take you out.’ And I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Well, aren’t you and Will getting a divorce?’ I was like, ‘No. Chris, those are just rumors.’ He was appalled. And he profusely apologized and that was that.” So, basically, Rock is really just another man who got rejected by a woman and then made a very public joke at her expense. Who’s surprised?

There you have it! Now that all of this has been brought to light, can we finally get a little more detail on these photos???

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