Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals She and Will Smith Have Been Secretly Separated for 7 Years

Jada Pinkett Smith is sharing an update on the state of her marriage to Will Smith, revealing in new interviews that they've been separated since 2016.

By Elyse Dupre Oct 11, 2023 12:13 PMTags
Watch: Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals Marriage Separation Details

Jada Pinkett Smith is revealing where her marriage to Will Smith really stands.

In new interviews, the Girls Trip star said she has been separated from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum for seven years. 

While fans are just learning the news now, Jada confirmed to Today that she and Will have been apart since 2016. As for the reason they kept things quiet?

"I think just not being ready yet, still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership and in regards to how do we present that to people," Jada told Hoda Kotb in an interview released Oct. 11. "And we hadn't figure that out."

She also shed some light on what led them to part ways.

"Why it fractured, that's a lot of things," the actress added. "I think by the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be."

And while Jada said she considered divorce, she ultimately decided not to file.

"I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce," she said in the interview, which is part of Jada's Story – An NBC News Special that will air Oct. 13. "We will work through whatever, and I just haven't been able to break that promise." 

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Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith Through the Years

Indeed, Jada indicated that they're still navigating their relationship. 

"We're still figuring it out," the 52-year-old also told People in a profile published Oct. 11. "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."

David Livingston/Getty Images

Jada and Will had already been separated for six years the night of the 2022 Oscars, where he won the Best Actor trophy for his lead role in King Richard and slapped Chris Rock onstage after the comedian made a joke about her shaved head.

"I thought, 'This is a skit,'" Jada, who lives with alopecia, recalled to the magazine. "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."

Jada remembers asking her husband if he was OK after they were finally alone post-show, and she suggested he's still on his own journey.

"I'm going to be by his side," she added, "but also allow him to have to figure this out for himself."

After the slap, Will resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was banned from its events for 10 years. He also apologized to Chris—calling the slap "unacceptable" and noting "there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment." And Will made it clear that Jada "had nothing to do" with his actions.

As for Chris, he spoke about the slap during his 2023 Netflix comedy special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage and said that "nobody was pickin' on" Jada. And while the Red Table Talk host has stayed relatively quiet on the incident, she previously expressed her hope "that these two intelligent capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile."

Jada and Will tied the knot in 1997 following his divorce from Sheree Zampino, with whom he shares 30-year-old son Trey Smith.

"Will called me up one day and said, 'Hit me when you get to L.A.' and then ... click. And I was like, 'Whoa. Okay,'" Jada told People. "And so when I got to L.A., I called him. I haven't been able to get rid of him since."

Over the years, the couple—who share kids Jaden Smith, 25, and Willow Smith, 22—have made headlines as they've gone through ups and downs in their relationship, including what Jada called in a 2020 episode of Red Table Talk her "entanglement" with August Alsina.

In addition to opening up to Today and People—with her also talking about her mental health journey and past suicidal ideations in the interview with the magazine—she's telling her story in her upcoming book Worthy, which debuts Oct. 17.

"At the heart of this powerful book are two unexpected love stories," a press release for the book previously obtained by People stated, "one being Jada's complicated marriage to Will Smith, the other being the one with herself."

To look back at Jada and Will's relationship through the years, keep reading.

Throwback!

Stunner in a blue outfit (dress?)! Will and Jada are all smiles at the Devil in a Blue Dress premiere in 1995.

White hot

Have you ever seen anything more '90s glam than this? The couple poses together in 1997, the year they got married.

Baby bump alert

Jada is styling more than just a trendy silver coat in this 1998 red carpet photo: she's showing off her baby bump in a sleek black dress. Jaden Smith was born on July 8, 1998.

Suited up

Hats off to the couple who never cease to show up on a red carpet in style. Here they are together at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California in 2005.

Here comes the bride

Jada ignored the old superstition of never wearing to black to a wedding as she and Will head to Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise's 2006 wedding in Rome, Italy.

Family affair

The kids are here in London, England with Will and Jada on the red carpet at The Karate Kid premiere in 2010.

Say cheese

Orange you glad to see this picture of Will and Jada together? The happy couple smiles in New York City in 2010.

Oh Canada

Willow, Jaden, Will, and Jada Pinkett Smith pose together in a family shot at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012.

Glam in green

Jada dazzles in green as she and Will arrive at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in 2016.

Vacation mode

Everyone is all smiles for a family vacation after making a quick pit stop at the 2018 World Cup.

Soft smiles

Will posts an Instagram tribute to wife Jada, acknowledging that they've been together for "HALF OUR LIVES!"

Entanglement

In 2020, Will and Jada addressed Jada's alleged affair with August Alsina.

Admitting she and August had an "entanglement" while she and Will were separated, she explained, "It was a relationship. I was in a lot of pain and I was very broken. In the process of that relationship I definitely realized you can't find happiness outside of yourself. Luckily enough, you and I were also going through a process of healing in a much different manner."

2022 Oscars

During the 2022 Academy Awards, Will slapped host Chris Rock over a joke the comedian made about Jada's shaved head. 

After the slap, Will resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and was banned from its events for 10 years. He also apologized to Chris—calling the slap "unacceptable" and noting "there is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment." 

Separation News

In Oct. 2023, Jada revealed she and Will have been separated for 7 years, including the six leading up to the 2022 Oscars.

"We're still figuring it out," Jada told People in a profile published Oct. 11. "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."

 

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