The searchlight was switched back on Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smithhis marriage this year after the now infamous Oscars incident, in which he punched comedian Chris Rock for making fun of her. But the incident overshadowed something that happened earlier in the same ceremony, when co-host Regina Hall appeared to take a dig at the couple’s unconventional marital arrangement.
Will and Jada tied the knot in 1997, but for several years rumors that they were in an open marriage followed them unwaveringly. At the Oscars earlier this year, Regina Hall apparently referred to this when she said that Will was on her ‘list’ of eligible bachelors and that Jada had ‘approved’ it.
Will first spoke about their arrangement in a 2021 GQ profile. “Jada never believed in conventional marriage… Jada had family members who were in unconventional relationships. So she grew up in a way that was very different from how I grew up. “There were significant endless discussions about, what is relational perfection? What is the perfect way to interact as a couple? And for much of our relationship, monogamy was our choice, without thinking of monogamy as the only relational perfection,” he said . “We have given each other trust and freedom, believing that everyone must find their own way. And marriage for us cannot be a prison. And I do not suggest our way to anyone. I do not suggest this way to anyone. But the experience of the freedoms we have given each other and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”
Jada also spoke about the rumors that they were in an open relationship back in 2013. She wrote in a Facebook post: “Let me first say this, there are far more important things to talk about in terms of what’s going on in the world than I have an open marriage or not. I raise this issue because a very important topic has been born from discussions of my statement that may be worthy of addressing.” She continued: “Do we believe that loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason why someone should ‘behave’? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions and underlying threats of ‘you better act right or else’ keep an honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined or live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What about unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and act like slavery? Do we believe that yes more control we put on someone, the safer we are? How about TRUST and LOVE?”
Jada concluded, “Both Will and I can do WHATEVER we want because we trust each other to do it. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship… this means we have an ADULT.
In 2020, Jada invited her husband to her show Red Table Talk, and talked about her “entanglement” with rapper August Alsina. “We decided we’re going to separate for a period of time and you’re going to figure out how to make yourself happy and I’m going to figure out how to make myself happy,” Will said, while Jada added: “From there , as time went on, I got into a different kind of entanglement with August.…Yes, it was a relationship, absolutely.”
Jada never wanted to be married in the first place, she told People in 2020. “But my mom said, ‘You have to get married’ — she’s so old-fashioned — and Will wanted a family. So I said, ‘Okay, maybe that’s something I should do,'” she said.
While several post-slam reports have suggested the pair are stronger than ever and are supporting each other during the tumultuous period, Will had previously hinted at their unconventional set-up and said he wouldn’t recommend it to others.