Jada Pinkett Smith & Tupac: Everything to Know About Their Close Relationship

Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur are each hugely famous in their own right. But how did their paths cross, and what was their relationship like? Learn what to know about Jada and her friendship with the late rapper.

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Tupac Shakur and Jada Pinkett-Smith
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Image Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Adam Nadel/AP/Shutterstock

Jada Pinkett Smith is known for being one half of one Hollywood’s most famous marriages, with controversial Oscar winner Will Smith. She’s also famous for her Red Table Talk tv show. What’s less known, however, is that she had a relationship with legendary late rapper Tupac Shakur. The Bad Moms actress, 50, met him in Baltimore in the ’80s, where she was born and raised, and a tight friendship developed in the years leading up to his still-unsolved 1996 death in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur (Adam Nadel/AP/Shutterstock)

But what was the nature of their relationship, and how did it start? Here’s everything you need to know about Jada and Tupac’s close relationship.

How Did Jada and Tupac originally meet?

The Madagascar actress and “So Many Tears” rapper met at the Baltimore School for The Arts in Maryland in the mid ’80s. “It was the first day and he came over to me and introduced himself,” Jada said in an interview, per People. “And in high school, Pac was a little funny looking. Definitely from looking at him, wasn’t necessarily the type of cat that I would even like, deal with.” Still, she shared, she was drawn to him. “But as soon as he approached me, he was like a magnet,” she continued. “Once you paid attention to him he kind of sucked you in. And we hit it off from that moment on… I don’t think either one of us thought we would have made it in the way that we did, but we knew we were gonna do something.”

It didn’t take long for their friendship to deepen, and she added that he, “was one of my best friends, he was like a brother.” Moreover, she saw his iconic potential early on. “He was a revolutionary without a revolution,” she told Howard Stern in 2015.

Were they romantically involved?

Jada Pinkett-Smith
Jada Pinkett-Smith (Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock)

According to the 2015 interview with Howard, Jada and Tupac weren’t attracted to each other, despite enormous affection for one another — in fact, she claimed that they once put it to the test with an actual kiss, and it was “disgusting” for them. “You know, it’s so funny because now being older, I have more of an understanding of what that was between us,” Jada told Howard.

“When you have two young people that have very strong feelings, but there was no physical chemistry between us at all, and it wasn’t even just for me – it was him too. There was a time when I was like, ‘Just kiss me! Let’s just see how this goes,’” she continued. “And when I tell you it had to be the most disgusting kiss for us both.” Ultimately, Jada said that, “the higher power just did not want that.” She also notably said that, “we might have killed each other because we were both so passionate and we love deeply.”

Tupac wrote poetry inspired by her that was posthumously published, and Jada famously raised eyebrows when she shared one of his poems via Instagram in 2021 to mark what would have been his 50th birthday.

What Happened To The Friendship?

Jada and Tupac’s close relationship is evidenced by numerous, very affectionate snapshots of the young artists embracing and smiling. And even Jada’s husband Will admitted to being jealous of her past with him. But when it was all said and done, Jada said Hollywood ultimately came between them as they rose in their respective careers. She shared with Howard that he felt her success in the entertainment industry changed her. “He felt as though I had changed,” she said. “I’d gone Hollywood. I’d gone soft. And looking back now, I totally understand where Pac was at the time. It was a mentality he started to come out of before he was murdered.”

She offered up that they didn’t speak after a “hardcore” argument, and regretted it after his untimely death. “It definitely taught me a lesson, which is life is too short,” she told Howard. “Do not let disagreements stand in between you and people that you love.”