Why Jada Pinkett Smith Decided Not to Reveal Will Smith Separation Despite "Entanglement" Backlash

Jada Pinkett Smith recently shared that she was originally ready to reveal the news of her and Will Smith's separation three years ago, when addressing her 2016 "entanglement" with August Alsina.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Oct 16, 2023 3:30 PMTags
Watch: Jada Pinkett Smith Reveals Marriage Separation Details

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith almost took their separation to the red table.

Days after the Girls Trip actress shared that she and her husband had been separated for seven years, she revealed that she nearly broke the news on Red Table Talk back in 2020 when she and Will opened about her 2016 "entanglement" with August Alsina.

"I was going to go to the red table by myself to talk about the entanglement," Jada told Jay Shetty the Oct. 16 episode of his On Purpose podcast. "But Will decided he wanted to come with and we were going to then tell the world, 'Hey, we haven't been together and this happened during that time.'"

She continued, "Well when we got to the table, Will wasn't ready. He wasn't ready for the world to know that. I had to respect that—well I didn't have to, but I wanted to."

Jada noted that this Red Table Talk episode, during which she and Will publicly addressed the affair allegations, had been her chance to walk back the "narrative of allowing myself to be portrayed as an adulteress, as someone that had betrayed Will when that wasn't the case."

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Wildest Quotes About Each Other

But when the moment came, she decided to respect the wish of her partner. 

"I was ready to let go of the persona I had created around myself," she continued. "That had put me in a golden cage. So I had to stay on my journey, I had to stay on my path while also respecting that Will wasn't ready. So I said, 'You know what, this is my mess anyway, I'm going to take this heat because guess what? The heat is coming either way.'"


Jada first provided an update on her and Will's relationship status on Oct. 11, explaining that the pair had been separated for years—including the 2022 Oscars ceremony in which the King Richard actor slapped Chris Rock for a joke the comedian made about Jada while hosting the ceremony.

"Why it fractured... that's a lot of things," she recalled to Today's Hoda Kotb. "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."

But despite being separated for so many years, in what Jada referred to as a divorce though "not on paper," she told the NBC anchor the pair still aren't ready to make the split legally binding. 

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

To relive Jada and Will's over 25 years together, keep reading.


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!"


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