NEW YORK (AP) — Jada Pinkett Smith is feeling free these days. She’s no longer hiding that she's been separated from megastar husband Will Smith for seven years.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders, honestly,” said Pinkett Smith whose new memoir, “Worthy,” is out now. “Ever since the Oscars, it’s so interesting how such an intense event can bring you closer together, and I would say that after that, we really dove in and dug in and got to this beautiful place we are now.”
The actor, who first revealed the bombshell news to NBC’s Hoda Kotb last week, details her much-gossiped about marriage throughout the biography. Through the years, the couple has faced rumors — of having an open marriage, a swinging lifestyle and questions about their sexual orientations — all while wearing smiles, seemingly portraying a picture-perfect life.
The daytime Emmy award winner briefly thought about scrapping the project; she started writing the 400-plus page book, co-written with Mim Eichler Rivas, at the top of 2022. But after Will infamously slapped Chris Rock in real time during the Oscars over a joke about her shaved head, Pinkett Smith wondered if writing a book was the right choice.
“The only time I reconsidered possibly was after the Oscars…because I was like I can’t write a book and not talk about this piece,” she told The Associated Press, admitting that she felt like the scapegoat for Will’s actions. “It took me a while to figure that out.”
While the Smiths’ marriage dynamic may still be confusing to some — they’re technically still married but have lived separate lives for years with divorce not an option — the “Collateral” actress says they’re working toward resolution.
“We love each other…we are figuring out right now as we speak, what that looks like for us. But there’s no being separated. There’s no, ‘we’re going to get divorced,’” she said. “I’m not giving up on that dude. And he’s not giving up on me… So, let’s just stop and let’s get to this deep healing and figure this out.”
With talent and serendipitous timing, the Baltimore native headed to Hollywood in the early ’90s during a peak period where the industry was welcoming in young, Black actors and creatives. She eventually landed a role on “A Different World,” the “The Cosby Show”-spinoff which inspired a generation of young African Americans to pursue college educations, particularly at historically Black colleges and universities. She went on to star in films like “Menace II Society,” “Jason’s Lyric,” “Set It Off,” “The Nutty Professor” and in “The Matrix” franchise.
Pinkett Smith says while her husband had aspirations to become a global, superstar actor, she didn’t share those same dreams which caused friction. While she considered how revealing intimate details to the world would further affect their family, it’s her story to tell —
“before Jada Pinkett Smith, there was Jada Pinkett,” she notes.
“Will completely understood that this was my point of view and that I had a right to talk about my point of view,” Pinkett Smith said of her husband, who posted an Instagram video with the cheeky caption “notifications off” on Sunday in reaction to the media frenzy the book has stirred. “We’re even talking about writing a book called ‘Don’t Try This at Home”… just talking step-by-step of where were our pitfalls and how we got through everything we’ve gotten through.”
In the Dey Street-HarperCollins book, Pinkett Smith intimately chronicles everything from childhood lessons learned while in her grandmother’s garden, navigating being the child of drug addicts, along with tales of dealing drugs as a teen and the consequences that followed. In another revelation, she describes contemplating taking her own life while crushed by depression during a midlife crisis after turning 40.
But the book also sheds light on her path to Hollywood, creative endeavors and her journey through motherhood with her two children with Will, Jaden and Willow, and her “bonus” child Trey from Will’s first marriage. She details the unconventional freedoms she’s allowed the children to have that have drawn criticism at times. There are writing prompts in the memoir, encouraging readers to reflect on their own lives.
“It’s a bit of a ‘Red Table Talk’ guidance page,” she said with a huge laugh. “I just wanted to give little breadcrumbs along the way, a bit of oxygen along the way, of like, I’m not just going to tell you that I got from point A to point B. But I just want to give you just a little bit of the method in which what got me there.”
“Red Table Talk” was the popular talk show broadcast on Facebook Live co-hosted by her, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Willow. On the show, they discussed intimate topics with guests and among themselves. In one of the most noted episodes, Jada and Will discussed what she called an “entanglement” after R&B singer August Alsina revealed the relationship, causing the public to believe she had had an affair. Pictures of Will’s tired eyes and scruffy beard from that episode are frequently memed.
In the autobiography, Pinkett Smith also discusses her friendship with rap icon, actor and activist Tupac Shakur. She says there was a deep love between the two but maintain they never had a romantic feelings toward each other. They met in high school at Baltimore School for the Arts, and they both would grow up to navigate Hollywood and the trappings of fame. Shakur was killed in 1996.
Last month, Las Vegas authorities arrested Duane “Keffe D” Davis, the last living suspect in the drive-by shooting. Davis has been charged with murder.
“I’m glad that the arrest was made (of) this person we always knew was in the car with the person who shot ’Pac. And I’m hoping we get more information,” said Pinkett Smith. “I want to know who called the hit.”
The 52-year-old says she doesn’t suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts anymore, and she credits the controversial, plant-based psychedelic ayahuasca for her healing. Pinkett Smith says she’s learned to keep a positive mindset, supported by a daily routine that includes mediation, prayer, scripture readings from various religions and yoga.
Pinkett Smith has launched a 13-city “Our Worthy Journey” book tour with stops that include London, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. While not everything in her life is perfect, she feels worthy these days.
“(I’m) feeling so comfortable in my skin. I know who I am. And I know who I am in regards to my relationship to Divine Source,” she said, pointing to the sky before holding her heart. “I know that I have everything that I need right here and that anything else that anybody else wants to offer me is a gift — is a gift! And I’m deeply grateful.”