Jada Pinkett Smith is known for being one half of Hollywood’s most dynamic coupledom, but she’s much more than just actor Will Smith’s better half. Mother, step-mom, actress, businesswoman, and badass rocker are a few of the terms that can be used to describe this multi-talented star.
Sure, she may not have a résumé that’s littered with blockbuster hits, but Pinkett Smith has made some pretty notable appearances in popular movies, including Magic Mike XXL, The Nutty Professor, The Matrix Reloaded, and Ali.
However, her real life is far more alluring than any film in which she’s appeared. How many entertainers can say they’ve battled multiple addictions and fended off self-destructive thoughts, all while nurturing one of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood? She’s managed to navigate her way through life with style, grace, and the unwavering determination to become the best version of herself by any means necessary. This is the untold truth of Jada Pinkett Smith.
Being an A-lister isn’t her thing
She has flexed her acting chops in a series of memorable movies, including her role as Ronnie in 1993’s Menace II Society and as Annie in the 2004 film Collateral. Pinkett Smith’s appearances in motion pictures have run the gamut from earthy and sensual characters to dangerous, hardcore criminals, and there’s no doubt that she has it in her to become one of the entertainment industry’s most sought-after actresses…if only that were her ultimate goal in life.
“[My husband] Will could never understand why I didn’t want to be the biggest star in Hollywood. But I never wanted that,” she told the Independent. “I just feel blessed to be able to do what I love and to do it when it works for me.”
Despite her lackadaisical approach to her acting career — which some would describe as stagnant — she’s still a household name. Pretty impressive, right?
Tupac Shakur gave her the ‘most disgusting kiss’
One relationship from Pinkett Smith’s past that has been at the center of tabloid fodder is her friendship with the late rapper, and her Baltimore School for the Arts classmate, Tupac Shakur. The media loves to paint their friendship as a romantic love story, but Pinkett Smith insists there was no hanky panky going on between her and the “California Love” artist.
“A lot of people try to figure out my relationship with Pac. That was, you know, a huge loss in my life,” she said during an episode of her Red Table Talk Facebook Watch series.
During an interview with the Howard Stern Sirius XM show, she dug even deeper into their mysterious friendship. Pinkett Smith said she and Shakur weren’t even physically attracted to each other. She forced him to kiss her one time, which she described to the shock jock as being “the most disgusting kiss” for the both of them.
She gave up her career and lost herself
Considering her rough upbringing, Jada Pinkett Smith was convinced her adult life would be far from picture-perfect. “I never thought about being married or having a family. I didn’t know anything about that because I came from a single mom so I always thought I’d be a single mom and have a career,” she said during VH1’s Dear Mama event (via People magazine).
Upon marrying Will Smith, she instantly became a step-mom to his son, Trey, from his first marriage. Later, they would add to their family by welcoming their son, Jaden, and daughter, Willow. Despite being married to a successful actor and raising three wonderful children, Pinkett Smith felt unfulfilled. During an episode of Red Table Talk, she was asked to name the biggest loss in her life, and she answered, “myself.” She then admitted, “When you realize that you’ve lost yourself, that’s like devastating. It’s like, ‘How do I get myself back?'”
She went on to tell her mom, Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and Willow that raising children, working on her marriage, and fostering her professional career was difficult. “That’s been my life for the past 20 some years, battling and rearing,” she said. “Giving up my career to raise my children, that was a battle.”
As her daughter thanked her for the sacrifices she made, Pinkett Smith replied, “I would not change it. I love my family. Don’t get that wrong. But I got lost along the way.”
Living with an addict
When she was a kid, Jada Pinkett Smith realized her mom was addicted to heroin. “I could tell when my mother was high. She couldn’t make it on time to pick me up from school. Or, she’s nodding off, falling asleep in the middle of something,” the actress recalled during an episode of Red Table Talk.
Looking back on her traumatic childhood, she told the Daily Mail, “I’d be terrified if I had to raise my kids in the environment I grew up in. When I look at them, I see them flourishing at such young ages and I wish to God I could have had the luxury to sit back and think, ‘Mum, I want to go out and get my vocal lessons today because I have this new song that I want to write.'”
Instead, Pinkett Smith’s childhood thoughts were full of sadness and despair. “What I had to think about was, ‘Oh man, I wonder what I’m going to eat tonight because there’s no food here. How am I going to get to school? And is my mum going to be OK today? Will this be one more day she survives her addiction?’ That’s the kind of stuff I had to think about at 11.”
Battling multiple addictions
Her mother wasn’t the only one who battled addiction. Pinkett Smith also fell into rough times. “Alcoholism and drug addiction runs through my family and I had my own addictions I had to get over. It just made me realize that really great people just get caught up,” she said during a revealing moment on Red Table Talk. “My sort of addictions jump. They jump around.”
As far as abusing alcohol, the accomplished actress said she finally realized she had a problem during a binge. “And I was like, ‘Now hold up. You’re in this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine? You might have a problem,'” she said, recalling the event.
Alcohol and drugs weren’t her only vices: “When I was younger, I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind, yes, that everything could be fixed by sex. You know what I’m saying?”
Thankfully, Pinkett Smith found it rather easy to go cold turkey to kick her habits, and she finally came to terms with her addictions. “I am a binger, and I always have to watch myself and I can just get obsessed with things,” she admitted.
Celeb divorces keep her marriage alive
Many people take one look at Pinkett Smith and her husband and immediately tag them as “relationship goals.” They’ve managed to weather many storms, and as the years go by, their marriage appears to get stronger and stronger. One way Pinkett Smith has managed to keep her union from unraveling is by practicing the art of forgiveness. Oh, and “nice outfits and high heels.” Her words, not ours!
Another tactic involves studying the failed marriages of Hollywood cohorts. Her husband told the New York Post that whenever a celebrity couple breaks up, he and Pinkett Smith “go and find out why.”
“With Bruce [Willis] and Demi [Moore], we spent hours talking to them,” Will said. “And Tom [Cruise] and Nicole [Kidman] — hours, just trying to understand what happened.”
It sounds like a rather heartless way to keep their own marriage from bursting at the seams, but it seems to work for them, so who are we to judge?
She had some ‘really down days’ after giving birth
Don’t let her uber-rich, extravagant lifestyle fool you. Celebrity moms have it just as bad as the rest of us, according to Pinkett Smith. The superstar told Parents magazine: “All moms struggle. Celebrities just know how to conceal it.”
Come to find out, she was speaking from experience because she reportedly had a really tough time after giving birth to both Willow and Jaden. “While motherhood is a beautiful thing, it’s traumatic to the body and the mind. I had some really down days after my kids were born,” she told the publication. “I thought I would never recover, even though I had a lot of help.”
She applied the principle of “fake it ’til you make it” to her everyday life, which helped her put on a brave face in front of the world. “The acting comes in handy,” she stated. “We can pretend everything is great even if it isn’t.”
Her husband’s ‘sexiest’ secret
Sometimes, Jada Pinkett Smith goes a bit overboard when it comes to sharing details about her personal life, such as the time she told Shape magazine (via E! News) that she and Will got freaky in the back of a limo on their way to the 2010 Academy Awards. “We started kissing passionately, and the next thing I knew, well, let’s just say we missed the red carpet and I ended up with almost no makeup on,” she recalled. Okay, fantastic. Moving on…
As cringeworthy as her stories regarding their sex life can be, she balances it all out by letting us in on the sweet and romantic moments. On one occasion, she shared a gorgeous photo on her Facebook account. In the pic, she’s lying in bed with her bare back on full display, and the only thing she appears to be wearing is an intricate gold necklace dangled around her neck.
She captioned the photo: “I discovered the sexiest secret the other day. My husband takes pics of me in my sleep. He has a whole stash he revealed to me and I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of myself through his eyes. I had to share one with you guys;) Life is art. Life is beauty.”
A time of ‘deep despair’
There were a few times when Pinkett Smith was met with “such deep despair” that she considered taking her life, she told NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today (via E! News). “I wish somebody had told me that it’s going to be OK,” she said. “You know, we’re going to have obstacles. You’re going to have difficult times. You’re going to have really dark times, you know? But just understand, keep stepping. Because life starts to reveal itself to you, and the light will come. Keep stepping.”
Her past suicidal thoughts also became a topic of discussion in the aftermath of the suicides of television personality Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade. Pinkett Smith took to her Instagram to share a photo of both celebs, along with a caption that read, in part, “With the suicides of Kate and Anthony it brought up feelings of when I was in such despair and had considered the same demise…often. In the years I spent towards my healing, many moons ago, I realized the mind and heart can be extremely delicate without the foundation of a formidable spirit.”
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call or chat online with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The real deal with the turbans
While taking a shower one day, Pinkett Smith pulled out “handfuls of hair.” She told an episode of Red Table Talk, “It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear.”
She decided to cut her hair, but numerous medical test came up empty for the cause of her alopecia. She suspected it was triggered by stress. “I really had to put it into a spiritual perspective, like the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here with cancer. People have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day,” she said. “The higher power takes so much from people… and, by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair. That’s it?”
Her hair loss explains why she began rocking colorful turbans out in public. “When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen,” she said. And she looks like one, too!
A ‘European’ way of life
While chatting with the Independent about her role in the naughty flick Magic Mike XXL, Pinkett Smith talked about her dream of America opening more topless beaches. She added, “We don’t do all that taking shirts off at the beaches over here, but I tell my kids, ‘It’s OK, it’s just breasts.'” She went on to say she has “more of a European approach in my house.”
It’s no secret her children, Willow and Jaden, have alternative and sometimes bizarre ways of thinking, which many blame on Pinkett Smith and her husband’s relaxed parenting style. This makes it even more plausible that she’s really taking her “European approach” to heart and letting her girlies hang loose in their 25,000-square-foot Malibu, Calif. compound, but we’ll never know for sure.
One thing’s for certain, she’s not shy about baring it all when she’s away from home. Case in point: the picture on the right shows her soaking up the sun and relaxing topless during one of her many family vacays!
I now pronounce you life partners
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith are one of the few Hollywood couples who’ve managed to beat the odds, but whatever you do, do not refer to them as husband wife. “We don’t even say we’re married anymore. We refer to ourselves as ‘life partners,’ where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life,” Will told TIDAL’s Rap Radar podcast (via E! News).
So how does that work? Well, according to Will, their relationship has “no deal breakers” — meaning, they’re in it for the long haul. “There’s nothing she could do — ever — nothing that would break our relationship. She has my support till death, and it feels so good to get to that space,” he said.
This should put an end to those pesky divorce rumors. Look up “’til death do you part” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of these two!