Will Smith Speaks Out on "Tumultuous" Jada Pinkett Smith Relationship

After Jada Pinkett Smith revealed she and husband Will Smith have been secretly separated for seven years, the Oscar winner is sharing how he feels about their relationship.

By Lindsay Weinberg, Kisha Forde Oct 19, 2023 2:09 AMTags
Watch: Will Smith Talks "Tumultuous" Jada Pinkett Smith Union

Will Smith is speaking out on his relationship with estranged wife and "best friend" Jada Pinkett Smith.

A week after the Red Table Talk host revealed she and the Oscar winner—who share kids Jaden, 25, and Willow, 22—have been quietly separated for seven years, Will addressed where the couple stand. 

While appearing at her Worthy book tour event in Baltimore, Md. on Oct. 18 alongside their kids, Will said he wanted to come "and hold it down for you the way you have held it down for me," per the Baltimore Sun.

He described their relationship as "very long and tumultuous" over the last 30 years. "We call it ‘brutiful,'" Will continued. "It was brutal and beautiful at the same time."

At another point, the Men in Black star said their union has been a "sloppy public experiment in unconditional love," according to the Baltimore Banner

photos
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith's Sweetest Pics

"As I stand here before you today, I am happier than I've ever been in my entire life," he shared. "I have achieved every single thing I have ever wanted in my entire life. There is not one thing left that I desire in this world—all of the awards, all of the money, the family—everything I've ever dreamed."

Explaining that his dreams were "largely built on the foundation of Jada's sacrifices," Will credited her with supporting him both professionally and personally in their family life raising Willow, Jaden and Trey Smith, who Will shares with ex Sheree Zampino.

"Can you show up and love somebody for the rest of your life, even when you don't agree with them?" Will said. "Jada is the best friend I have ever had on this planet and I am going to show up for her and support her for the rest of my life."

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Per the Baltimore Banner, Jada smiled throughout his speech and called him "babe" as he wrapped up. 

The King Richard star's heartfelt statement comes after Jada shared that the two, who tied the knot in 1997, have been living "completely separate lives" since 2016. As she told Today host Hoda Kotb in an Oct. 11 preview from an upcoming NBC News primetime special, though the pair are still married legally, they are no longer involved romantically.

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

Eric Charbonneau/Peacock/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

And while Jada has considered filing for divorce, she admits there's still hesitation to sign off on their split officially.

"I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce," she noted. "We will work through whatever. I just haven't been able to break that promise."

Lionel Hahn / Getty Images

Will, 55, himself echoed a similar sentiment over the years, previously noting that "divorce can't be an option."

"With Jada, I stood up in front of God and said, 'Til death do us part,'" he told MTV News in 2006. "So there are two possible outcomes. One, we are going to be together 'til death, or two, I am dead."

Amy Sussman/WireImage

For her part, Jada, 52, remained firm in that belief, too.

"Here's the thing about Will and I, it's like, we are family, that's never going down, it's just not," the Nutty Professor star said during a 2018 appearance on Sway in the Morning. "Because we are family—take out all that whole marriage, relationship, crap—at the end of the day, Will and I are family, I'm going to hold him down."

As she noted, "It doesn't matter, all that relationship and what people think, ideas of a husband and a partner and all that, man, whatever, at the end of the day, that's a man that can rely on me for the rest of his life, period."

Though the two have faced a couple bumps in the road publicly down the line—including Jada confirming her relationship with August Alsina during the couple's separation and the aftermath of the 2022 Oscars ordeal—as Will noted, they're committed to remaining by each other's side.

"We don't even say we're married anymore," the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star during a 2018 appearance on TIDAL's Rap Radar podcast. "We refer to ourselves as 'life partners,' where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life. There's no deal breakers."

Keep reading to revisit their relationship.

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."

 

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App