For years, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have dodged rumours about their marriage, denying they were in an open relationship, denying they had broken up, and denying extramarital affairs. The closest glimpse we received into the state of their marriage came in 2020 when Jada admitted to having an “entanglement” (aka fling) with R&B singer August Alsina while she and Will were going through marital issues. Jada's revelation came after Alsina made their past dalliance public knowledge during an interview with Angela Yee. Since then, Jada's relationship with Will has been under a microscope, partially because they've steadily supplied the public with intimate details about their rocky marriage. For instance, we know that Jada never wanted to get married, was once in love with the late Tupac Shakur, and a host of other intimate details that no one ever asked about.
Now, in her new memoir “Worthy,” and in a candid sneak peek of her sit-down interview with “Today”’s Hoda Kotb, which airs Friday night, the “Collateral” star reveals that her and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star have been separated for a whopping seven years.
Jada tells Hoda during the interview sneak peek that the marriage fell apart because of “a lot of things.”
“I think by the time we got to 2016, we were both just exhausted with trying,” she said. “I think we were both kind of still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be.”
She said she “made a promise” that there would never be a reason for her and the “Men In Black” star to divorce “and I just haven’t been able to break that promise,” she said.
She acknowledges however that they have been living separately and live separate lives.
Jada says the pair, who have been married since 1997, are “still trying to figure out between the two of us, how to be in partnership.”
“How do we present that to people?” she told Hoda. “We hadn’t figured that out.”
These are details she also explores in her upcoming memoir “Worthy,” out October 17, and in conversation with PEOPLE, she explains of her marriage, “We’re still figuring it out.”
“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.”
PEOPLE has also published an excerpt from “Worthy” where Jada explains how the 2022 Oscar’s slap played out for her.
She writes, “I had my own premonition right before the incident on the Oscar stage. It flashed through my mind as Chris Rock’s face came across the screen as one of the presenters that night. In fact, my stomach clenched. He had been known to take swipes at me — and from the Oscar stage, no less. That had been in 2016, six years earlier, during what became known as #OscarsSoWhite.”
“Trying to be optimistic, I told myself, A lot of time has passed, it’s the Academy Awards, there are no new misunderstandings, and I’m sure he’ll play nice. But another thought was, He’s not going to be able to help himself,” she continues.
“When Chris came out to present an award, made some jokes, got lots of laughs, and, like comics do, decided to milk his time onstage, he saw me and my bald head and ad-libbed: ‘Jada, I love ya, G.I. Jane Two, can’t wait to see it.’”
“Just like I’d thought, he wasn’t able to help himself, and I rolled my eyes,” she writes.
“It was not because of the jab at my alopecia but, honestly, about the people I had met whose condition was far worse than mine. That was indeed a very light joke, as many expressed, but it was not about me. I was frustrated that the majority of folks can’t seem to understand how devastating alopecia can be. My heart broke for the many who live in shame, the children who have committed suicide after being teased and taunted by their classmates. And now the Oscars, in all its political correctness, was telling the world it was okay to make jokes at the expense of a woman suffering from alopecia?”
Writing that she assumed her husband and Rock were participating in a skit when the on-stage altercation occurred, she continues, “It’s not until Will yells from his seat back up at Chris to ‘keep my wife’s name out your f***in’ mouth,’ and then repeats it, that I perceive the gravity of the situation, and that, no, it had not been a skit. Even so, I am unclear on the reason why Will is so upset. We had been living separate lives and were there as family, not as husband and wife. But when I hear Will yell ‘wife’ in the chaos of the moment, an internal shift of Oh s***. . . I am his wife! happens instantly.”
The excerpt ends with her stating, “But no matter what, Will and I are in this together.”
“Worthy” hits bookshelves October 17, and her interview with Hoda Kotb on TODAY airs this Friday.