Jada Pinkett Smith: ‘I didn’t judge Chris, I didn’t judge Will,’ it’s a ‘spiritual clash’

Jada Pinkett Smith gave a lengthy interview to the New York Times this weekend to promote her memoir, Worthy. The NYT’s piece was actually quite thoughtful and they didn’t tabloidize some of the darker elements of Jada’s life, which is sort of what happened with her People Magazine cover story. Jada’s in full promotional mode and she has talking points, which is why some of the quotes sound familiar – she’d already said the same stuff to Today and People. Still, I enjoyed reading a more in-depth piece with Jada. Some highlights:

When Will Smith called her his “wife” at the 2022 Oscars: “Even though we hadn’t been calling each other husband and wife in a long time, I said, ‘I’m his wife now. We in this.’ That’s just who I am. That’s the gift I have to offer, like, ‘Hey, I’m riding with you.’”

Smith and Rock had decades of disrespect between them, starting in the late 1980s: “I didn’t judge Chris, I didn’t judge Will. I was like, ‘Oh, this is a spiritual clash.’”

Why she stood by Will that night: He was in tremendous pain, and fragile, Pinkett Smith said. He had recently finished filming “Emancipation,” a hellish Civil War-era drama that was psychologically tormenting for Smith, who plays an enslaved man. “I knew in my heart that he needed me by his side more than ever.”

Her reaction – to roll her eyes – at Chris Rock’s joke: “It was easy to spin the story of how the perfect Hollywood megastar had fallen to his demise because of his imperfect wife. Blaming the woman is nothing new…How is it that a woman can be so irrelevant and culpable at the same time? I had to think about the narrative out there of me as the adulterous wife, who had now driven her husband to madness with the command of one look. I had to take responsibility for my part in aiding that false narrative’s existence. I also had to chuckle at the idea that the world would think I wielded that amount of control over Will Smith. If I had that amount of control over Will, chile, my life would have been entirely different these damn near three decades. Real talk!”

The state of her marriage: They are not in an open marriage, nor are they uncoupled, polyamorous or divorced. They are something else altogether: life partners in family and business, long maintaining an agreement they call “a relationship of transparency.” In recent years, they’ve lived separately. As a 50th birthday present to herself, she bought her own place, moving out of their Calabasas compound….Pinkett Smith, in pursuit of “clarity and emotional sobriety,” became what she calls an “urban nun of sorts.” She meditates and reads texts like the Bhagavad Gita, the Quran or the Bible daily, and abstains from sex, alcohol, violent entertainment and unnecessary spending.

On Tupac: “Pac’s whole thing was because I knew him when — when he wasn’t Tupac. The guy who was poor, the conditions that he lived in. And I was rocking with him anyway.” In “Worthy,” she reveals that he’d proposed to her in a letter while incarcerated at Rikers in the mid-1990s for groping a fan. “Did Pac love me? Yeah he loved me! But I promise you, had we got married, he’d have divorced my ass as soon as he walked through them damn gates and got out.”

[From The NY Times]

Jada’s description of her life now is kind of the dream, right? She’s still married, she still has some kind of love for and partnership with Will, but she has carved out her own space, her own home, her own rules for existing and healing. I get that there’s some outrage at Will and Jada for “lying” about their marriage, but my view is that they’ve both always been pretty open about the fact that their marriage has struggled a lot in the past decade or longer, but it’s also clear that they still love each other. They don’t have to define it, especially since they’re still figuring out their sh-t. Now, if I was in charge of their lives? Sure, I would tell them to just get divorced, get things settled and then continue to be friends and continue to love each other. But they’ve got their own thing.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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14 Responses to “Jada Pinkett Smith: ‘I didn’t judge Chris, I didn’t judge Will,’ it’s a ‘spiritual clash’”

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  1. Arizona says:

    I… I mean, to each their own. but it seems like they’re stuck in a weird stasis, not living some evolved life partnership. I’m not sure it’s actually been working very well for either of them, but it’s not for me to decide. I can’t say I would want to be in a relationship in which we didn’t have sex or live together.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    I’m over this but love them. Blessings and peace to them both.

  3. aquarius64 says:

    Will went to SM to comment on Jada’s latest Tupac “revelations” and he’s not happy. He’s done with her.

    • Ameerah M says:

      Really?? Because he was just in People magazine quoted as having read the whole book and loved it. So yeah…I’m calling BS on that one.

  4. Ale says:

    They live in a very precarious balance, where one of them is inevitably more powerful than the other. And i think is Jada, i have the impression (just my take as an observer) that Will is just eager to take what she is ready to give him.

  5. Digital Unicorn says:

    If it works for them why not but there is something toxic underneath that sometimes you can see boil to the surface in interviews. That Red Table talk interview with him was just painful.

    Chris Rock has had an unhealthy obsession with Jada for years and that’s why he has attacked her and Will at every opportunity. She in turn has had an unrequited thing for Tu Pac – if he was serious about marrying her she would have.

  6. Ponsby says:

    I’m glad to see this take because I feel so confused by the incredible backlash Jada has been receiving. Tik Tok is just DRAGGING her this week for being somehow culpable of years of “lying” and the cause of constant “embarrassment” for Will Smith, and I feel like I’m just missing something? I listened to her longform interview on a podcast this week and I don’t know, I thought what she was explaining about the whole relationship seemed really consistent with what you do when you’re battling with the codependency that come from decades of life together and
    trying to navigate a public life but keeping something for yourselves? I feel like she’s being treated with such hate on social media for being some kind of attention seeker, or someone who hates her partner and compulsively airs his dirty laundry – but I just don’t get what everyone is seeing that I don’t?

  7. kgeo says:

    I and a lot of women I know would love this set up. A lifetime is a long time to share a space with a person, but there’s also comfort in longevity. I think it’s exhausting how she shares every single minutiae and a relationship like this wouldn’t be possible without copious amounts of money, but I think the stuff she and Will are experiencing are pretty normal and healthy as long as he’s fine with it too.

  8. Ameerah M says:

    I agree Kaiser- she kind of is living the dream. Partnership and she doesn’t have to live with him?! As Whoopi Goldberg famously said about not wanting to get married, “I don’t want anyone in my house.” THAT’S ME. Jada gets the best of both worlds.

  9. snappyfish says:

    Unpopular comment warning: I am not a fan of Jada. For many reasons, from how she treats people she considered beneath her on sets, her fan fiction about Tupac, the scientology school, et al. I thought what Will did at the Oscars was awful, regardless of any issue he had with Chris, but Jada has somehow made me feel sympathetic to Will. I wish all well, but I find her pompous, manipulative, and a purveyor of victimhood. I won’t even go to the affair with her son’s friend. I DO think she is stunningly beautiful and I wish her peace.

    • Izzy says:

      Co-sign your unpopular opinion. Their whole relationship sounds toxic AF too, but once she screwed her son’s friend, I was just over it all anyway. That is just gross.

  10. Coconut says:

    Good interview w her on NPR Fresh Air.

  11. kirk says:

    I was really beginning not to like her what with all the stories coming out. But she’s redeemed herself with the following: “How is it that a woman can be so irrelevant and culpable at the same time? I had to think about the narrative out there of me as the adulterous wife, who had now driven her husband to madness with the command of one look. I had to take responsibility for my part in aiding that false narrative’s existence.”

    “How is it that a woman can be so irrelevant and culpable at the same time?” Very insightful. Not likely to add her book to my reading list though.