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Jada Pinkett Smith reveals she and Will Smith have been separated since 2016

In an exclusive clip from her upcoming NBC News prime-time special with Hoda Kotb, Pinkett Smith confirms that there’s more to her marriage than she has previously shared.
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/ Source: TODAY

Jada Pinkett Smith is revealing the truth about her relationship with Will Smith.

In an exclusive clip from her upcoming NBC News prime-time special with Hoda Kotb — which will air Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC — Pinkett Smith confirms that there’s more to her marriage than she has previously shared.

According to Pinkett Smith, she and Smith have been separated and have lived “completely separate lives” since 2016, almost 20 years after they married in 1997.

She details more about their relationship — how it started and where it stands now — in her upcoming memoir, “Worthy,” out Oct. 17.

In the preview clip, Kotb asks Pinkett Smith for details about the marriage revelation in her memoir, which she says “surprised her the most” out of the book’s “many surprising things.”

While the two are still legally married, Pinkett Smith explains to Kotb, she and Smith are no longer romantically together.

“It was not a divorce on paper,” Kotb clarifies.

“Right,” Pinkett Smith responds.

“...but it was a divorce,” Kotb continues.

“Divorce,” Pinkett Smith emphasizes.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 94th Oscars in Hollywood, Calif., in 2022.Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images file

When Kotb asks directly why the couple hadn’t previously shared their relationship status, Pinkett Smith says it came down to “just not being ready yet ... Still trying to figure out between the two of us how to be in partnership ... In regards to, how do we present that to people? We hadn’t figured that out.”

When Kotb asks what led to the relationship’s “fracture,” Pinkett Smith responds:

“Why it fractured ... that — that’s a lot of things ... By the time we got to 2016, we were just exhausted with trying. I think we were both kind of just still stuck in our fantasy of what we thought the other person should be,” she says.

Pinkett Smith adds that while she has considered a legal divorce, she has never been able to go through with it.

“I made a promise that there will never be a reason for us to get a divorce. We will work through ... whatever,” she says. “I just haven’t been able to break that promise.”

Smith and Pinkett Smith’s longtime partnership has included headlines about her “entanglement” with singer August Alsina and an ensuing joint Red Table Talk interview in 2020, as well as Smith slapping Oscars host Chris Rock after he joked about Pinkett Smith’s hair at the 2022 Academy Awards. Smith also published a memoir in 2021 which touched on their marriage.

During the Red Table Talk interview in 2020, Smith and Pinkett Smith addressed their marriage, as well as her relationship with Alsina — or the “entanglement,” as she called it. At the time, Pinkett Smith and Smith confirmed that prior to her relationship with Alsina, they had been “going through a very difficult time.”

“I was done with your ass,” Smith joked in the episode.

“Yeah, you kicked me to the curb,” Pinkett Smith responded. “We broke up.”

What wasn't known until now is that the couple never actually got back together.

Smith and Pinkett Smith have two children, 24-year-old son, Jaden, and 21-year-old daughter, Willow. The “Pursuit of Happyness” actor also has a 29-year-old son, Trey, from his first marriage, to Sheree Zampino. 

In her memoir, Pinkett Smith details the “rollercoaster ride from the depths of suicidal depression to the heights of personal rediscovery and the celebration of authentic feminine power,” per publisher Dey Street Books, as well as her relationship with rapper Tupac Shakur, whom she met in high school.