In a shocking revelation, Jada Pinkett Smith has disclosed that she and her husband, Will Smith, have been separated since 2016. The candid conversation took place during an exclusive clip from her upcoming prime-time special with Hoda Kotb on NBC News.
Pinkett Smith’s revelation sheds light on the hidden complexities of their marriage, going beyond what the public previously knew. Despite their nearly two-decade-long marriage that began in 1997, she unveiled that they’ve been living “completely separate lives” since 2016, marking a significant turning point in their relationship.
Her forthcoming memoir, titled “Worthy,” set to release on October 17, delves deeper into their relationship journey, revealing both its origins and its current state. In the preview clip of the interview, Hoda Kotb inquires about the marriage revelation in Pinkett Smith’s memoir, which she describes as one of the book’s “many surprising things.”
Although legally married, Pinkett Smith confirms that she and Smith are no longer romantically involved. Kotb presses for clarification, emphasizing that it wasn’t a divorce on paper but asking if it was, in essence, a divorce. Pinkett Smith agrees, acknowledging the reality of their separation.
When questioned about why they hadn’t previously shared their relationship status with the public, Pinkett Smith explained, “It came down to just not being ready yet… Still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership… In regards to, how do we present that to people? We hadn’t figured that out.”
Reflecting on the reasons behind their relationship’s fracture, Pinkett Smith shares, “Why it fractured… that’s a lot of things… 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.”
Despite considering a legal divorce, Pinkett Smith has been unable to proceed with it due to a promise she made to herself. She vowed, “I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through… whatever.” This promise has kept her from taking the steps toward a formal divorce.
This revelation comes after several high-profile moments in the couple’s public life, including Pinkett Smith’s “entanglement” with singer August Alsina, a topic they addressed in a joint Red Table Talk interview in 2020. Additionally, Will Smith’s physical confrontation with Oscars host Chris Rock in 2022 over a joke about Pinkett Smith’s hair garnered significant attention.
The couple, who share two children, Jaden and Willow, also have a long history of addressing their marriage in the public eye, with Will Smith publishing a memoir in 2021 that touched on their relationship. During the Red Table Talk interview in 2020, they discussed their difficult times, with Will joking that he was “done” with Jada at one point.