In it for the long haul! Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have one of the longest lasting marriages in Hollywood, but they have weathered numerous ups and downs in the years since they tied the knot.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air alum met the actress in 1994, but the two did not begin dating until the following year. They married on New Year’s Eve in 1997. Nearly 20 years later, however, the Girls Trip star admitted that she regretted beginning her relationship with Will while he was still married to his ex-wife, Sheree Zampino.
“Because I did not understand marriage, I did not understand divorce,” she said during the 2018 premiere episode of Red Table Talk, which featured Zampino as a guest. “I probably should have fell back.”
Despite their rocky beginnings, the two women bonded after Jada met Trey, Zampino’s son with Will. “She was my entry point to motherhood,” the Baltimore native explained. “I was co-mothering with her. At that particular time, before [having a blended family] was popular, before it was even an idea, we were trying to create something that we had never experienced.”
While the couple became a model for marriage among celebrities, they dealt with drama behind the scenes, frequently shooting down divorce rumors and even going so far as to split up for a time.
“I was done with your ass. I was done with you,” Will admitted with a laugh during a July 2020 episode of Red Table Talk revealing they had separated in 2015. “Marriages have that though. We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time and you go figure out how to make yourself happy and I’ll try to figure out how to make myself happy. I really felt like we could be over.”
The pair stopped talking at the time, and Jada entered into a brief “entanglement” with August Alsina. The Hitch star and the Hawthorne alum eventually reconciled though.
Despite their rocky road, the duo previously insisted that they did not consider divorcing. “Because I had been divorced before, I wasn’t getting divorced again. Divorce wasn’t an option,” the Philadelphia native stressed on Red Table Talk in October 2018. “I was devastated even worse than a divorce. We broke up within our marriage and got back together again. We had to rebuild with new rules and something way, completely different.”
At the conclusion of their July 2020 discussion about their marriage, they reiterated their stance on their unbreakable relationship. “We ride together. We die together. Bad marriage for life,” they said, referencing a quote from Will’s Bad Boys film series.
Less than two years later, the couple’s relationship once again made headlines after Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face at the 2022 Oscars, following the Saturday Night Live alum’s onstage quip about Pinkett Smith’s hair loss. Two months later, in June 2022, the Matrix Reloaded star addressed the incident on her Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, noting that she wants the two actors to “heal, talk this out and reconcile.”
She also threw her support behind her husband of almost 25 years. “Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together,” Pinkett Smith added.
Scroll down to revisit the highs and lows of the Smiths’ decades-long marriage.