Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have been married for over twenty years. In that time, they have had two children, starred in dozens of movies - although only once have they appeared together - and have built their careers independent of each other. But, their marriage, like any other, has faced its ups and downs. This year the couple faced their most challenging year, as they confronted a deep secret about their marriage that they never spoke about publicly.
By 2001, Will Smith was known for mostly playing himself in movies like "Bad Boys" and "Men In Black," but his most challenging role, and most celebrated, came in the 2001 biopic, "Ali," where he played the legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali. The role was one of Will's most serious portrayals, and he was recognized for his stellar performance with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
Most articles about Will and Jada state that they have never appeared on-screen together, but "Ali" marked the first time the couple did appear together in a film. Jada made a cameo appearance in "Ali," and her character is officially known as Sonji. Her character shares an intimate dance with the Champ and is only seen in a few other scenes afterward.
Will was not convinced by the pitch the Wachowskis (the directors of "The Matrix") made and famously turned down the role, even though Jada tried to convince him to take the role. Jada did see the potential the franchise had and even auditioned for the role of Trinity in the first film. She didn't get it, but she did land a part in the Matrix sequels and is rumored to return for the much-anticipated Matrix 4 movie.
Jada not only devoted her time to acting roles, though. Like her husband, Jada also began a musical career in the most unlikely of genres. In 2002, Jada formed a heavy metal band called Wicked Wisdom. Jada was inspired by her life-long love of heavy metal music and bands like Metallica and Guns n' Roses. The band played Ozzfest and even opened for Britney Spears during her 2004 world tour.
The Smith family kept growing in the 2000s. The couple welcomed their second child together, Willow Camille Reign Smith, in 2000. Will later revealed the circumstances involving her conception, which involved a trip to Mexico and some tequila. Willow would also grow up to become an entertainer in her own right.
Will wasted no time in getting the newest member of his family to appear on-screen with him. Willow had a small part in her father's 2007 blockbuster, "I Am Legend," playing, of course, his character's daughter. Willow makes her only appearance in a flashback scene, as most of the movie revolves around Will's character's isolation at being the last man alive after a virus hits the Earth.
Will and Jada have never been shy about letting their children enter the spotlight; if anything, they have encouraged it, even from a very young age. The family appears together regularly at movie premieres, fashion shows, and concerts. They even hosted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony when US president Barack Obama was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize that year.
In 2006, Will decided to put aside his action-hero persona and star in a more serious role. The movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" was based on the real-life story of Chris Gardner. The film was tailor-made for real-life father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith. Jaden was only eight years old at the time, which made him the right age to play Gardner's son in the film. The role led to Will's second Best Actor nomination that year, but he lost out to Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Being born into a famous family is already enough to make you famous, but Jaden Smith did not want to stop there. Jaden starred in his first leading role at age 12 in the 2010 remake of "The Karate Kid." This was a solo affair for Jaden as neither of his parents was in the film. Despite the outward appearance of success and happiness for the entire family, things were not going so well in private.
Seemingly out of nowhere, in 2011, the Internet started circulating a rumor that Jada had an extra-marital affair with singer Marc Anthony. The rumor also followed speculation that Will and Jada were having marital problems. The chatter got so loud that Will and Jada released a joint statement quashing the infidelity rumors as well as the rumors that they were going to split up.
In a 2013 interview with HuffPost, Jada addressed the Mark Anthony rumors and talked about her marriage, in general, to HuffPost's Lamont Hill. In retrospect, this interview is what opened Pandora's Box, meaning that it is what sparked the public's intense interest in Will and Jada's marriage. During the interview, Jada remarked, "I've always told Will, 'You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be okay.'"
As is to be expected in the age of social media, people quickly latched onto Jada's statement and speculated even further that the couple was divorcing, splitting up, or that they had an open marriage. No one was sure what Jada meant, but that didn't stop them from creating a firestorm of controversy.
Jada, in an attempt to quell the rumors, made a statement on her Facebook page saying that. "Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship... This means we have a GROWN one." The statement only led to more confusion. Will also made a statement saying the couple were not splitting up but did not mention anything about whether they had an open marriage.
After years of battling rumors about infidelities or that they were in an open marriage or that their marriage was falling apart, Will and Jada came clean to each other on Jada's Facebook Live show, "Red Table Talk." The interview came after R&B singer August Aslina revealed that he and Jada had an "entanglement" in 2017 when Will and Jada were separated. Jada did admit to Will and the world that she and Aslina had a relationship when the couple was separated.
Despite the uproar caused by their very public admissions, WIll and Jada are still together. They have overcome a separation, infidelities, and the public spotlight to emerge even more committed to each other. As Will has said in past interviews, divorce is not an option for the couple. At the end of their Red Table Talk, the pair even fist-bumped saying to each other, "We ride together, we die together."
What are some of the more surprising moments of Will and Jada's career/marriage? Would you ever enter into an open relationship? Let us know in the comments section below. Will and Jada Pinkett Smith seem like the perfect couple. They're both talented, attractive people who have found love and success with each other. But their marriage, like anyone else's, has been a hard one with many challenges thrown their way. In the end, however, their commitment to each other is stronger than anyone imagined, and they proved to not only each other but the world that they are in it forever.