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Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she and Will Smith separated in 2016

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have been separated for years, according to the actress' new memoir.
Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she and Will Smith separated in 2016
Posted at 2:25 PM, Oct 11, 2023

Rumors about Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith's lives together are finally being put to rest.

In a recent round of interviews promoting her new memoir, "Worthy," Pinkett Smith revealed she and her husband are separated — and have been for about seven years.

The actress revealed the news in an interview with Hoda Kotb, previews of which aired on "Today" Wednesday ahead of a full prime-time special airing on NBC  News Friday.

In a teaser clip, Pinkett Smith said she and her husband have lived "completely separate lives" since 2016 — a divorce, she said, just without the legal papers.

"Why it fractured ... that — that's a lot of things," she told 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."

When asked why the pair hadn't shared the news sooner, Pinkett Smith told Kotb they weren't ready, as they were still trying to figure out "how to be in partnership" — a sentiment she echoed in an interview with People, also released Wednesday.

"We've been doing some really heavy-duty work together," she told the magazine. "We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us."

Since their 1997 marriage, the two have become one of Hollywood's most high-profile partnerships, with their star power even expanding to their two children Jaden and Willow Smith, who are also entertainers.

In those 26 years, the couple has been subject to much gossip, but they have continued to put on a united and open front about their trials and tribulations.

In 2013, Pinkett Smith said she and Smith didn't have an open relationship but a "grown" one.

SEE MORE: Will Smith Talks About Oscars Slap In First Major Interview

And in a 2020 episode of Pinkett Smith's talk show, "Red Table Talk," the pair openly discussed the actress' "entanglement" with singer August Alsina during a "difficult time" in their marriage. This caused the couple to decide to go their separate ways, but as Pinkett Smith has now revealed, the separation had already begun.

But their relationship seemed to still appear united at the 2022 Oscars, particularly when Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage after he made a joke about Pinkett Smith's hair. The now viral moment, in which the actor told Rock to "keep my wife's name out your f***ing mouth," got Smith banned from the event for 10 years.

In Pinkett Smith's upcoming book, she says she was first "unclear" why her husband was "so upset" about the joke.

"We had been living separate lives and were there as family, not as husband and wife," she wrote, per an excerpt shared by People. "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."

"Worthy" is set to be released Oct. 17.


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