Jada Pinkett Smith on the secret to her marriage: ‘you have to be a soldier for love’

FOX 2014 Programming Presentation, New York
About three years ago there were massive rumors that Will and Jada Pinkett Smith were living separately, that each of them were having affairs or at least dalliances with other people, and that they were on the brink of divorce. Jada was spotted out without her wedding ring and the rumors continued until at least the spring of 2012, when they did a couple of half-hearted photo ops together.

After all that, Jada made some statements which seemed to suggest that she and Will had an open marriage. (At least that’s what I got out of what she said.) Both Jada and Will have otherwise made it clear that they’re in it for the long haul, though, and they seem to have recommitted to each other lately. They both sound like they’re on the same page when it comes to their hands-off parenting policy, that’s for sure.

That’s why it’s interesting to me when Jada speaks about her marriage as if it’s something to fight and work for. She’s been with Will for over 20 years, and while they’ve learned to stop oversharing about their sex life, they’ll tell you that they have to work for it. Jada gave these comments to Extra, where she was promoting her role on a Fox TV series called Gotham. (The show tells the origin stories for DC superheroes and a video preview is here. Holy crap her face!)

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and husband Will Smith have had divorce rumors constantly swirling, but at FOX’s TCA this weekend, Jada made it clear to “Extra’s” Renee Bargh that they are very much together.

Pinkett Smith said the key to their relationship is friendship. “Your partner has to be your best, best, friend. And he’s my best friend.”

Jada had some sound advice on keeping your marriage strong. “You have to have kind of a warrior mentality. You have to be a solider for love. You have to be able to withstand tough times and just because the tough times come doesn’t mean it’s time to stop… it means it’s time to dig in.”

Pinkett Smith also gushed about her upcoming 20th wedding anniversary. “We’re going to be celebrating 20 years in two years, so we’re starting to plan now for a big 20th year.”

[From Extra TV]

In terms of what Jada said about Will being her best friend, that reminds me of a Ted Radio Hour that I heard recently. A couples therapist named Esther Perel made the point that we ask too much of our partners, and that relationships can “crumble under the weight of expectations.” In modern society we often expect one person to be everything to us – erotic and mysterious yet familiar, friendly and comfortable. Those things aren’t necessarily compatible. I’m not saying that couples shouldn’t be close friends, just that it’s food for thought.

Also, I just spent way too much time digging through nonsensical Scientology sites trying to figure out if this “marriage as war” analogy is something that the cult promotes. I couldn’t confirm that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Will and Jada shelled out a lot of cash in exchange for some joint auditing. (i.e. holding tin cans.) Good for Will and Jada for sticking together and working it out if that’s what they want. I get the impression that their joint branding is an extra incentive to make it work.

The 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Los Angeles

The 86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals C

FOX 2014 Programming Presentation

Photo credit: WENN.com and FameFlynet

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27 Responses to “Jada Pinkett Smith on the secret to her marriage: ‘you have to be a soldier for love’”

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  1. GeeMoney says:

    Well, if it “works” for them, it works for them. I don’t know exactly how happy the two of them are together, but it’s nice to see a Hollywood couple make it almost 20 years out there.

    And what’s wrong with her breasts in the first pic? Is it me, or do her boobs look lopsided?

    • kri says:

      @Gee -it looks like one her boobs is higher than the other. Yeah, and I’m not really clear on how they are still together. Maybe their “hands-off” parenting style extends to their marriage as well?

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      She is braless. Never a good idea over a certain age, and underboob always makes you look droopy, whether you are or not.

  2. Ag says:

    I’ve listened to the same ted hour on NPR recently, and my takeaway from it was that both parties should have other close friends to fulfill those needs with, as one person can’t possibly be everything to you. but, the friendship clearly has to be there – you have to like the person you’re with and be intimate with them (not only on the sexual level).

    re jada, it does sound like a scientology talking point of some sort. i used to like the two of them together, but in the last few years, i’ve found them bizarre and alienating. the stench of scientology is all over them.

    • Belinda says:

      Yeah. Most long term couples talk about being each others best friend. That just means that you are at your most open and most vulnerable with that person. It doesnt mean that you are glued to each others hip or that you dont have other friends with whom you have a close connection. And hey if it gets you to a 20th wedding anniversary with all the pressures of Hollywood working against you, then it obviously works.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Exactly. My husband is my best friend in the sense that he’s the person who knows me best, accepts me the most and to whom I’m closest, but that doesn’t mean we go shopping and to get pedicures together. I think you need time away from each other, and your own interests, too. One thing I learned from my mother and father – they want the other person to have a good time and enjoy life, whether the activity includes them or not. If my husband wants a sailing weekend with the guys, I’m all for it, because I know how much he will enjoy it. And vice versa.

      • HappyMom says:

        This exactly. My husband and I have been married for 18 years, and together for 23. He is definitely my best friend-but I have lots of other friends and activities too. I don’t rely on him to “make me happy.” I think that’s a bad sign when you’re looking for someone else to do that for you-that’s your own job.

      • siri says:

        @HappyMom: I can only congratulate you for that kind of wisdom! Together for 35, married for 30 years, I know one thing for sure: nobody can MAKE me happy, if I’m not happy by, and with, myself. We both have our own little circle of friends, there’s no jealousy, no need to control the other- and when we do something together, we just try to enjoy our time. But a lot of times, that insight comes with age/certain experiences. Many younger people throw the towel when experiencing ‘problems’, and just change partners- without realizing they might as well try to figure out their own troubles first, since otherwise they might have the same difficulties with any other partner.

  3. eliza says:

    Awwwww, somewhere Donny Osmond is gearing up to sing his Soldier of Love song and dedicate it to Will and Jada.

  4. Abbott says:

    “I just spent way too much time digging through nonsensical Scientology sites…” We might need an internet prayer circle for CB. Those levitating aliens might have your number, girl!

    • Ag says:


      i am seriously so paranoid about going on those sites, as much as i want to check them out, i’m pretty convinced that they WILL somehow infest my computer, then find me, and god knows what else. haha.

  5. Mayamae says:

    Wasn’t that a Donny Osmond song?

  6. lisa2 says:

    My parents, aunts/ uncles have all been married for over 50 years. My parents too. They were all each other’s best friend. Did everything together. Yes they had other friends, but they were the main for each other. Those marriages lasted. Longevity.

    I think the problem for many modern marriages is that people depend more on the people outside their marriage to give them what they should be getting from each other. I don’t know much about Jada/Will. It just seem to me that for the last few years they spend more time apart than together. It must be working for them.

    • Wren says:

      There are many ways to have a long, happy marriage as long as each partner genuinely loves and respects the other. My parents have been married for almost 50 years and they do NOT do everything together. Much eyerolls would be had if you suggested such a thing. My grandparents too were very independent of each other and they made it over 50 years until my grandpa passed away. Then there’s my aunt and uncle who celebrated their 50th anniversary a few years ago and they do everything together and aside from work always have done. I think it depends on the personalities of the people involved.

      One thing I have noticed is that people in happy marriages tend NOT to talk about it. And they definitely don’t remind you how happy they are or drivel on about how they are “soldiers together” or whatever metaphor they favor that day.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree that what works for some is different than what works for others.

        And also that Jada & Will have spent so much time and energy trying to prove how happy they are. Just be! The more they talk (and she especially talks about it a LOT), the less I believe it.

    • Emily C. says:

      Actually, modern marriages are staggeringly new in their emphasis on “everything to each other.” People used to depend much more on extended family and on neighbors than they do now — MUCH more. They continue to do so in most other human cultures. Our North American middle/upper class model of marriage puts far more pressure on the marriage itself than any other society in history ever has. It is supposed to meet every need, whether emotional or economic. This is unprecedented and unworkable.

  7. I hate it when celebrities make quotes that sound like they are straight off of the lyric sheet of a bad 80′s song.

    Soldier For Love
    Words and music by Rick Astley

  8. GiGi says:

    I don’t know… if it works for them, it works for them.

    As for the marriage stuff – my Mr. & I have been married 12 years – and we’ve always worked together. Which makes for A LOT of together time. So we both have outside interests and don’t require the other to go everywhere/do everything together. He’s completely recharged after an afternoon or day of doing what he loves away from me & I’m the same. We are best friends, and business parnters, but we really can’t be everything to each other. We would kill each other, lol! It’s vital to have outside, individual interests!

  9. AlmondJoy says:

    I’ve loved Jada since the early 90s when she was on A Different World. As a teen, she and Will were iconic to me. Glad their relationship has lasted so long.

    As for her face… 😳 she’s naturally beautifully, not sure why she did that to her cheeks! Jada’s mom looks VERY young for her age and she would have aged beautifully.

  10. TheRealMaya says:

    Well my parents have been happily married for 30 plus years and they only give this advice when asked:

    1. Let your partner be who they want to be. Don’t restrict them with your expectations of what they have to be like.

    2. Compromise – learn to compromise and make sure ego doesn’t play the third wheel in your relationship.

    3. Never sleep in separate beds after an argument. That will only widen the gap while sleeping in the same bed who will end up talking again.

    • Lauraq says:

      My fiancee and I have a rule that even if we go to bed mad at each other, we still have to say I love you, and cuddle (we are one of those weird couples that actually stays cuddled through the night). I think withholding ‘I love you’ just because you’re pissed off is one of the cruelest things you can do to someone.

  11. aenflex says:

    I believe many marriages last simply because it becomes too frightening a prospect to part. That and the massive disentanglements involved as well as fear of judgement/religious values. Both sets of my grandparents stayed married until death did them part, 45+ years. And they hated each other for as far back as I can remember.

  12. Emily C. says:

    Warrior mentality? Uh… wow that’s way too much work. Marriage is often work, but if it gets to be war, there are some serious problems.

  13. Mrs McCubbins says:

    They make more money if they’re together than apart. I know several couples who have completely lost respect for their husband/wife but they stay together because of pensions, kids , embarassment whatever. These two are a business not a marriage imo.

  14. I Swear says:

    I do think they’ve had an open arrangement since the very beginning. Jada is bisexual and Will says he’ll ask his wife for permission if he “needs” to sleep with a person. The Bad Boys costar – Gabrielle something – said that Jada was unfriendly towards her and watched Will like a hawk. I guess that’s what Jada means by “soldier for love.” That description doesn’t reflect a stable, committed thing. “Hard work” maybe, but not “soldier.” Open marriage, definitely.

  15. melain says:

    Jada used to look happy and open. Now she looks angry and like she’s drugged with her eyes always at half mast. What happened?