The Smith family is once again letting their fans see what went on behind closed doors all these years.
In the newest installment of Red Table Talk, Willow Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smithand Will Smith relive a dark time in their family history, starting the year Jada turned 40. “I think the turning point in our relationship for me happened when I turned 40,” Jada said. “That’s when I had a mid-life crisis.”
Will, seemingly feeling that he had the answer to her problems, came up with a grand plan to surprise her with a documentary-like film all about Jada, which would include never-before-seen tapes of her grandmother. “It was going to be a splash! Mary J. Blige perfumed, debuted the film, all of that. It was going to be the thing that lifted her out of this mid-life crisis,” he thought at the time.
However, when the big day came, Will was upset to see Jada give him a reaction he did not expect. He recalled, “So Jada had to sit there and listen —I understand thoroughly now, at the time I didn’t—but she’s listening to these never-before-heard tapes of one of the dearest people she’s ever known in her life in front of all these people. She’s holding it together.”
Following his big reveal, Jada said she simply wanted “intimate time” to reflect on the video and that he should cancel any other birthday plans he made for her, much to Will’s disappointment. “She was like, ‘It’s my birthday. Right?’ And she told me that the party was the most ridiculous display of my ego. Crushed. And to this day I know I was crushed cause it was true. It wasn’t a party for her,” he explained.
But, because he didn’t understand her decision at the time, he remembered he “snapped.” Will said, “I snapped in front of Willow, only time in her childhood, she ever saw me snap and I saw her look and Willow starts crying. I was like, ‘Baby, I’m sorry.’ She’s like ‘Just figure it out! You guys, please, just figure it out!'”
This proved to be a defining moment for Jada, who learned to have the “courage to just say no.”
“I had to have the courage to unravel it and just realizing that this next 40, I’ve got to do it my way. This next half has to be directed by picture for myself,” Jada explained.
She added, “There was so much that wasn’t me that I was living. So much in-authenticity. I do think that there are a lot more people who are living lives that are not true to them because of their fear. So I understand, there’s no judgement, I did it.”
Jada admitted it was partly because she tried so hard to “live up to an idea” for Will. Unfortunately, this even applied to Willow, who struggled with her own identity at a young age. Will recounted the pride he had in Willow when she toured for “Whip My Hair,” until one day she confessed how unhappy she was.
“She was like, ‘Okay, I’m done, daddy.’ I was like, ‘Sweetie, you can’t be done. You know, you made a commitment’. She was like, ‘But I’m finished.’ I was like, ‘No sweetie, but you can’t be finished, you made a commitment to Mr. Jay-Z.’ ‘No Daddy, you made a commitment to Mr. Jay Z.'”
Willow didn’t remember this, but Jada recalled, “You were like, ‘Daddy, it doesn’t matter that I’m done?'”
And Will remembered telling her: “Yes, sweetie. It does matter a lot, it does but you can’t be done.”
“She came down the next day and shaved her head bald. I was like, ‘Does she know what she’s doing?’ Like that was a deep protest,” Will shared. “What it did for me is, I had a crazy realization in that moment. I was building what I wanted for her and she tried all of the different ways to say: ‘I don’t want that’. I was like, ‘I get it.’ I saw for the first what Jada had been saying about hiding behind my ego, my dreams and my desires and pretending like its love and I realized she didn’t want none of the stuff I had built.”
Even through the drama of it all, however, they “never” considered divorce as an option. Despite media reports, Jada insisted, “I had never seen a divorce lawyer. Like that was never—it never crossed my mind.”
And Will felt the same way. “I had been divorced before, I wasn’t getting divorced again. Divorce wasn’t an option. There was a time where I was scared that she might,” he said.
That being said, Jada assured she and Will don’t believe there is anything wrong with getting divorced. She assured people watching, “I don’t want to lead this table making people feel like divorce is wrong. Sometimes that is what you need for whatever you need to discover about your situation and yourself, right?”
Nonetheless, Will and Jada knew they had to work hard if they wanted to fix their marriage. Will said, “I was devastated even worse than a divorce. We broke up within our marriage and got back together again and had to rebuild with new rules—something way completely different.”
To repair their relationship Will said, “I took off for two years. I worked on myself. I’ve read 50 books on marriage and relationships and behavioral psychology; I was not going to fail in this marriage. But I shut down for two entire years to see what was I doing wrong.”
Now, years later, the two have changed a lot about who they are and how they view their relationship. “We don’t even call ourselves married anymore,” Jada shared. “It’s a life partnership in the sense that we’ve created a foundation together that we know is for this lifetime.”
At the end of their discussion, Will told Jada: “You know why I never got divorced?”
“It’s cheaper to keep me,” Jada joked.
“Cause I’ve never met anyone like you and I knew if I wasn’t with you, I’d be searching in vain for the rest of my life,” Will said.