Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith say their marriage is not traditional.
Pinkett Smith revealed this week that she and Smith, who married in 1997, have been living “completely separate lives” since 2016.
Here are some of their thoughts on marriage over the years.
In 2017, Will Smith celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary and posted a throwback wedding photo along with a heartfelt caption that read, “20 years ago today we Holding hands and walking innocently down that aisle. That’s what I’ve learned since then.”
“Love is like gardening…I have learned to focus on helping you blossom into who you are meant to be (become who you were born to be),” Smith writes. “Instead of asking you to be who my fragile self needs you to be.”
He ended with “Happy Anniversary, my Queen! I am forever committed to cultivating your deepest truth.”
That same year, Pinkett Smith appeared on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” and answered audience questions about the “craziest” rumors she had heard about her family. Pinkett Smith said she and her husband were swingers.
“I thought, ‘Yo, I hope so!'” she said with a laugh.
When Cohen asked her how she keeps the “hotness” with her husband, Pinkett Smith said, “I really think Will and I have amazing chemistry on so many different levels.”
“We love to laugh together, we love to learn together, and we love each other,” she continued. “We just had a great time together. Yeah, I guess that’s the secret. Yeah, we really like each other!”
Pinkett Smith appeared on Sway’s Universe in 2018 and declared that no matter what, she and Smith were “family.”
“Besides all the marriage/relationship bullshit, at the end of the day, Will and I are family. I’m going to hold him down and that’s okay,” she said. “All these relationships and what people think about husbands, partners, et cetera, man, et cetera. At the end of the day, this is a guy I can count on for the rest of my life, period.”
A caller later asked Pinkett Smith how to deal with “indiscretions” in marriage.
“As much as we want our partners to be perfect, as much as we want them to never hurt us, as much as we want them to come into the relationship with no flaws and everything figured out, we don’t,” Pinkett Smith says.
That same year, Smith appeared on Tidal’s Rap Radar podcast and made headlines for revealing that he and Pinkett Smith “don’t even say we’re married anymore.”
“We call ourselves life partners, and it’s that space where you realize you’re actually spending the rest of your life with someone,” Smith says. “There’s nothing that’s a deal breaker. There’s nothing she can do — ever. There’s nothing (… ) would destroy our relationship. I supported her until death, and it feels good to be able to get to that space.”
In 2021, Smith spoke with GQ magazine about his upcoming memoir, in which he writes about the ups and downs of his relationship with his wife.
One of those failures came in 2011, when he planned a 40th birthday party for Pinkett Smith that included a documentary he made about her life that traced her family back to to the time of slavery. The actress didn’t like it, telling Smith, “It was the most disgusting display of self I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“Our marriage was not going well,” Smith writes in his book. “We can’t pretend anymore. We’re all in pain and clearly something has to change.”
He confirmed to GQ that their marriage was no longer monogamous, explaining that “Jada never believed in traditional marriage.”
“The way she was raised is very different from the way I was raised. There are endless important discussions about what is a perfect relationship? What is the perfect way for a couple to interact?” he said. “For the majority of our relationship, monogamy was what we chose, rather than thinking monogamy was the only perfect relationship.”
Smith elaborated on what this means for them.
“We give each other trust and freedom, believing that everyone must find their own path. Marriage cannot be a prison for us,” he added. “I wouldn’t suggest our path to anyone. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But to me, the freedom and unconditional support we give each other is the highest definition of love.”
In 2020, Smith appeared on her “Red Table Talk” to discuss her romantic relationship with singer August Alsina.
The pair said the “entanglement” occurred during a “very difficult time” in their marriage, but that they had since moved into a place of “unconditional love”.
“I told you the first year we were married that I could love you through anything,” Will Smith said at the time.
The couple fist bumped and jokingly recited his Bad Boys movie motto: “We ride together, we die together. A lifetime of bad marriages.”