Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals She and Husband Will Smith Suffered a “Fractured” Marriage, Have Been Secretly Separated for Years

will and jada pinkett smith break up
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Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith shared a fairly surprising revelation about her relationship with her husband, the former Fresh Prince, actor and musician Will Smith.

jada and will smith

Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America

For some time now, rumors have swirled about Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, their marital troubles, and their relationship, but on Wednesday, Pinkett-Smith finally put those rumors to rest–by confirming them.

“Why [our marriage] fractured–that’s a lot of things,” Pinkett-Smith said to NBC’s Hoda Kotb during a preview to a new interview for NBC, the entirety of which will air during a prime-time special on Friday evening. “I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying.”

The interview is just one of several media appearances Pinkett-Smith is scheduled to make in an effort to promote the release of her new book, Worthy.

jada pinkett smith's book "worthy"

Credit: Harper-Collins Publishers/Google Books/Canva

Pinkett-Smith confirmed in the interview that she and her husband, Academy Award-winning actor and musician Will Smith, have been separated for approximately seven years. But, she said, they are not legally divorced.

“I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be,” she explained to the Today Show host on NBC. “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through whatever. And I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

The pair decided to go their separate ways in 2016, though they have continued to make red carpet appearances and appearances at film premieres together. The marriage between Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith is one of the best-known and longest-lasting relationships in Hollywood. The couple married in 1997 and have two children, Jaden Smith and Willow Smith, both of whom are entertainers in their own right.

jada smith and will smith

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith at the premiere of “Emancipation” (2022)/Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America

But the couple’s 26-year-long partnership has been at the center of gossip for a long time, but the couple has also been open when it comes to the challenges they’ve endured. In 2013, Pinkett-Smith took to Facebook to address a rumor about the ongoing status of the pair’s marriage, discussing the issues of love, trust, and having a “grown” marriage.

Later, in 2020, the two celebrities shared more details about their marriage in an episode of Pinkett-Smith’s talk show, Red Table Talk. During the episode, the actress revealed that she and Smith broke up for a while, and during that break, she became “entangled” with musician August Alsina.

“You and I were going through a very difficult time,” said Pinkett-Smith to Smith during the episode.

“I was done with you,” Smith said, adding that the couple was at a point at which they had decided to call it quits. “I really felt like we could be over.”

Now, according to Pinkett-Smith’s revelation on Wednesday, it has become apparent that the couple had already separated by that time. When asked why the couple hadn’t gone public with the news of their separation, Pinkett-Smith said that she and Smith weren’t “ready yet” because their relationship continued to evolve.
Will Smith shares heartfelt message about his relationship with his older son - Good Morning America

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith with family/Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America

“How do we present that to people?” the actress responded. “And we hadn’t figured that out.”

The Oscars Slap

In March 2022, during the televised Academy Awards ceremony, the relationship between Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith was cast into the public eye after Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage during the live broadcast after Rock made a joke about Pinkett-Smith’s hairstyle. The incident made the headlines for days and came to be known as “The Slap.” Will Smith was ultimately banned from attending any of the Academy Awards ceremonies for a period of ten years as the Academy condemned his actions.
jada and will smith at the oscars 2022

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It would be months before Will Smith issued an apology to Chris Rock. In a YouTube video, the actor and musician attempted to explain the circumstances surrounding the evening, including his mindset at the time, but it wasn’t enough to mend the professional relationship between the two.
will smith and chris rock at oscars 2022

Credit: Screenshot/Disney/ABC Television

Pinkett-Smith’s “Worthy” Memoir

Pinkett’s revelation comes as she is making several media appearances to promote her new book, entitled Worthy, which is described as an “impactful and rare memoir” that tells the story of Smith “accepting her power as a woman.”

Will Smith explains childhood trauma, unconventional marriage in new memoir - Good Morning America

Credit: Disney/ABC/Good Morning America

In a media-driven landscape that crafts narratives for our celebrities, Smith recounts her story in an intimate conversation with readers. Along the way, she explores her path to accepting her power as a woman and her discovery that a strong sense of self is every woman’s right and saving grace.

From an unconventional upbringing in Baltimore to an unconventional marriage to one of the most famous men in the world, adhering to the status quo has never been a familiar road for Jada Pinkett-Smith. In “Worthy,” Smith strips herself of all the labels and stories crafted by others and reclaims her narrative with radical self-love. “Worthy” teaches us who Jada is and how to embrace our most authentic loveable souls.

Worthy is available in bookstores beginning October 17.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!