Celebrity weddings are some of the biggest events in gossip news every year. From Meghan & Harry to David & Victoria, the weddings are events that last years in the press. Celebrity marriages, however, are not so long-lasting. Whether it’s Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Esposito lasting four months, or Britney Spears & Jason Alexander lasting a whopping fifty-five hours, longevity isn’t common.
This trope is one of the reasons that the long-lasting marriages of people like Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson or Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick are so coveted. People are fascinated with how they make it work. One powerhouse couple has been rumored to have a very different way to accomplish longevity. Will Smith & Jada Pinket Smith have lasted a long time, but have they done so by being swingers?
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith were married in a private ceremony at the Cloisters Mansion near Jada’s hometown of Baltimore on New Year’s Eve, 1997. They met three years before when she auditioned to play his girlfriend on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Producers believed that she was too short to be his girlfriend, with fourteen inches separating them.
When they met, Smith was already married with a child. They remained friends until Smith was divorced a year later. The two began to date that same year, 1995, and were married two years later. They had their first child together in 1998, Jaden Smith, who has acted alongside Will twice and was also the co-lead of the Karate Kid remake. The family grew again in 2000 with the birth of Willow.
Trouble on the horizon?
In 2011, while Jada was starring in HawthoRNe, rumors began to swirl that she was having an affair with on-screen love interest Marc Anthony. Anthony and his wife at the time, Jennifer Lopez, were in the middle of a divorce and observers noticed he was getting closer to Jada. The rumors led to speculation that Will & Jada were headed for a divorce, speculation the couple denied.
In 2013, Jada told HuffPost Live, “I’ve always told Will, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you can look at yourself in the mirror and be OK.’ Because at the end of the day, Will is his own man. I’m here as his partner, but he is his own man. He has to decide who he wants to be, and that’s not for me to do for him. Or vice versa.” This led to rumors the couple had an open marriage, rumors also denied by them both.
In 2018, Smith spoke of their status by saying, “We don’t even say we’re married anymore. We refer to ourselves as life partners, where you get into that space where you realize you are literally with somebody for the rest of your life,” he said. “There’s no deal breakers. There’s nothing she could do — ever. Nothing that would break our relationship.”
Red Table Talk
The couple opened up about a past breakup between them during a July 2020 episode of Facebook Watch’s Red Table Talk. After August Alsina claimed in June 2020 that he had an affair with Pinkett Smith years prior, she decided to address the rumors. “We decided that we were going to separate for a period of time,” Smith explained. “I really felt like we could be over.”
The actress said, “no, we were over,” which opened the door for the “different kind of entanglement” with Alsina. “It was a relationship,” she said of her brief romance with Alsina. “I was in a lot of pain, I was very broken. In the process of that relationship, I definitely realized that you can’t find happiness outside of yourself.”
Pinkett Smith continued saying that the singer eventually broke off communication with her once she and Smith started to work on their relationship — and they haven’t spoken since. “I wasn’t sure I was ever going to speak to you again,” before noting that marriage “ain’t for the weak at heart.”
Pinkett Smith added: “I definitely believe that you and I never, ever, ever thought that we would make it back.” The two jokingly concluded: “We ride together, we die together, bad marriage for life.”
In a recent interview for the November cover of GQ, Will told the publication that he and Jada decided they would no longer be monogamous at one point in their marriage. “We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way,” he said.
“And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”
While the two distanced themselves from the term “swingers” in 2020, it seems the two have taken the open relationship route moving forward. Whatever their approach, after twenty-three years of marriage, they have proven that work is what it takes to survive in Hollywood.