Jada Pinkett Smith on separation from husband Will: Divorce did not feel right

Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills in 2022 (Doug Peters/PA)
Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills in 2022 (Doug Peters/PA)

Jada Pinkett Smith has said she and husband Will Smith intended to divorce after separating seven years ago but decided it “didn’t feel right” for them.

The actress described their relationship as a “life partnership” despite separating in 2016.

Asked what the difference between separation and divorce was for her in an interview with The Sunday Times magazine, she said: “Well, we needed the time.

“Will and I got married at an early age and we were able to make some beautiful things and some not so beautiful things.

“We got to a place where we had to go our separate ways in order to break from some of those more immature fantasies of what being married was about.

“And bear in mind, when we had that separation in 2016 the goal was to divorce, but divorce just didn’t feel right for either of us. We don’t know why. But here we are.”

The couple married in 1997 and share son Jaden and daughter Willow while Smith, 55, has a son Trey from his first marriage to Sheree Zampino.

Pinkett Smith has previously denied the couple have an open relationship and speculation about the state of their marriage reached fever pitch in 2020, when the 52-year-old actress revealed she had had an “entanglement” with singer August Alsina, 31.

The Matrix star revealed she does not currently live with her husband but that she can see them coming together again in the future.

She said: “To be honest with you, I think eventually we will (live together again.) I really do.

“Will’s getting old. I’m staying quite young, but it’s getting apparent to me that he’s gonna need someone to take care of him.”

Despite the separation, the actress said they still support each other which is why she was by his side for the 2022 Oscars ceremony when he was nominated for the best actor prize, which he went on to win.

Their attendance led to the infamous moment when Will Smith stormed the stage and slapped comedian Chris rock, who was hosting the ceremony, after he made a joke about his wife’s hair-loss.

The actress slammed the suggestion that she encouraged him to take action, saying: “People thought I gave Will a look and ‘made’ him do it. But let me start with this: nobody can make Will Smith do anything, and surely not me.

“If I could make Will do anything the last three decades of my marriage would have looked totally different. Real talk, right?

“And I also want to say, it’s really ironic how women are considered, what do you say, irrelevant? Until a man does something that’s unsavoury, and suddenly she has all the power in the world to make him do that.”

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Will Smith with his sons Trey Smith and Jaden Smith, daughter Willow Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith (Doug Peters/PA)

She continued: “Whatever Will’s reaction was, that’s for Will to say.

“But when Chris made that comment I rolled my eyes because I know how real alopecia is, and to make fun of a condition that people have no control over, that makes them live in shame?

“So I didn’t feel like laughing because I didn’t find it funny, and I’m not a robot.”

The altercation resulted in widespread criticism of Smith who subsequently resigned from the Academy and was later banned from attending all Oscar events for the next 10 years.

The actor later shared a statement on Instagram where he apologised for his “unacceptable and inexcusable” behaviour at the event.

Pinkett Smith told the magazine that after the attention around the ceremony, the couple “started walking a new path” together.